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Are Informationes Ethical? 

James F. Keenan, S J. 

29/4 • SEPTEMBER 1997 


A group of Jesuits appointed from their provinces in the United States. 

The Seminar studies topics pertaining to the spiritual doctrine and 
practice of Jesuits, especially American Jesuits, and communicates the results to 
the members of the provinces. This is done in the spirit of Vatican IPs recom- 
mendation that religious institutes recapture the original inspiration of their 
founders and adapt it to the circumstances of modern times. The Seminar wel- 
comes reactions or comments in regard to the material that it publishes. 

The Seminar focuses its direct attention on the life and work of the 
Jesuits of the United States. The issues treated may be common also to Jesuits 
of other regions, to other priests, religious, and laity, to both men and women. 
Hence, the studies, while meant especially for American Jesuits, are not exclu- 
sively for them. Others who may find them helpful are cordially welcome to 
read them. 


Richard J. Clifford, S.J., teaches Old Testament at Weston Jesuit School of 
Theology in Cambridge, Mass. (1997). 

Gerald M. Fagin, S.J., teaches theology in the Institute for Ministry at Loyola 
University, New Orleans, La. (1997). 

Gerald P. Fogarty, S.J., teaches history in the department of religious studies at 
the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va. (1995). 

John P. Langan, S.J., as holder of the Kennedy Chair of Christian Ethics, teach- 
es philosophy at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (1996). 

Edward T. Oakes, S.J., teaches theology at Regis University, Denver, Col. 

John W Padberg, S.J., is chairman of the Seminar, editor of STUDIES, and direc- 
tor and editor at the Institute of Jesuit Sources (1986). 

Clement J. Petrik, S.J., is assistant to the provincial of the Maryland Province 
for pastoral ministries (1995). 

Carl F. Starkloff, S.J., teaches theology at Regis College, Toronto, Canada 

Timothy E. Toohig, S.J., a physicist, is presently rector of the Jesuit Commu- 
nity at Fairfield University, Fairfield, Conn. (1997). 

James S. Torrens, S.J., is an associate editor of America in New York (1996). 

The opinions expressed in STUDIES are those of the individual authors thereof. Parenthe- 
ses designate year of entry as a Seminar member. 

Copyright © 1997 and published by the Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality 
3700 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 
(Tel. 314-977-7257; Fax 314-977-7263) 

Are Informationes Ethical? 

James F. Keenan, SJ. 


29/4 • SEPTEMBER 1997 

For your information . . . 

In the last issue of STUDIES, I mentioned the names of the new members of 
the Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality and promised to give more information about them 
in this issue. Richard Clifford (NEN) is professor of Old Testament at Weston Jesuit 
School of Theology and an accomplished scholar in scripture studies. You may most 
recently have seen several articles by him in America on questions surrounding the 
English-language translations of the Bible appropriate for the Lectionary of the Mass. 
Gerald Fagin (NOR) is professor of theology in the Institute for Ministry at Loyola 
University, New Orleans. He was a delegate to the Thirty-fourth General Congrega- 
tion and in the past has also served as rector at Loyola and provincial of the New 
Orleans Province, and has also been a member of the National Seminar on Jesuit 
Higher Education. Edward Oakes (MIS) is professor of religious studies at Regis 
University, Denver, and a former teacher at New York University. He is a prolific 
author and a specialist on the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar. Timothy Toohig 
(NEN) is rector of the Jesuit community at Fairfield University, Fairfield, Conn. As a 
physicist he spent five years in California and another five in Texas working on the 
supercollider, most recently as deputy head of construction for the whole project. All 
of these new members bring their special talents and perspectives to the work of the 
Seminar and to the production of STUDIES. You can find the full membership of the 
Seminar listed on the inside front cover of every issue of this periodical. 

Not a member of the Seminar, but of great assistance to it as a member of 
the Institute of Jesuit Sources was Martin E. Palmer, S.J. Sadly, I have to use the past 
tense, because Marty died here in St. Louis on August 7 after a long battle with 
lymphoma. His talents and exertions produced the translations of many of the 
"Sources" regularly appearing in STUDIES. He had an extraordinary gift for languages 
(was it ten or twelve of them that he knew?), was an excellent translator and editor, 
and knew the spiritual writings of the early Jesuits in greater breadth and depth than 
anyone else I can think of. In addition, he was a fine teacher of Scripture and a very 
successful retreat director. At White House alone, the St. Louis Jesuit retreat house, 
he gave forty-four retreats, in addition to giving at least an equal number of them at 
other Jesuit centers. We shall miss him greatly. Please remember him in your prayers 
and ask the Lord to help us find a successor for him at the Institute of Jesuit Sources. 

Once, when I remarked to a provincial that a particular Jesuit anniversary 
was coming up in the next year, he replied, "John, I think you could find some 
Jesuit centenary or sesquicentennial or two- or three- or four-hundredth anniversary 
of some person or event in the Society to celebrate every year in succession." I hope 
he was right, because I do think we should commemorate our members, recall the 


lives they have lived, the deeds they have done, the institutions they have established, 
the persons they have touched. We do not do enough of that today. Perhaps that is 
because of a fear of "triumphalism," although I have not seen that attitude rearing 
itself as much of a temptation in recent times. It is for our future that we ought to 
connect with our past. Our present, good or bad, happy or sad, bright or dark, is too 
often with us. It limits our activities and, more important, it limits our imaginations 
and our courage for that future. 

My remarks are occasioned by the memory of three great men who lived 
and worked in very different circumstances and whose anniversaries, among others, 
we are celebrating this year— Peter Canisius, John-Francis Regis, and Jose de Anchie- 
ta. This year, 1997, is the four-hundredth anniversary of the deaths in 1597 of 
Canisius and Anchieta and of the birth of Regis. Canisius, often called the second 
apostle of Germany, worked in the context of the Reformation and left, among his 
lasting contributions, schools, the most popular catechism in German Catholic 
history, and lands in great part saved for the Catholic Church. Anchieta, a distant 
relative of both Ignatius and Francis Xavier, was an extraordinary missionary, 
linguist, and historian, often and rightly called the "apostle of Brazil." Regis was a 
preacher of popular missions, catechist, confessor, and founder of refuges for 
prostitutes in the towns, villages, and throughout the countryside of the parts of 
southern France in which he labored. English-language biographies of all three men 
exist. They are James Brodrick's Peter Canisius (Sheed & Ward), Helen Dominian's 
Apostle of Brazil (Exposition Press), and Albert Foley, S.J.'s, St. Regis: A Social 
Crusader (Spring Hill College). The reading of any one or of all of them, with then- 
details of ordinary life and extraordinary achievements intermingled, can connect us 
with our past, put our present in perspective, widen our horizons, and enlarge our 
imaginations about what we should be doing for the future. 

Yet more books . . . Even if the summer days for reading are past, the 
following three books are worth squeezing into the interstices of our days from fall 
through spring and on into next summer. As One Sent: Peter Kenney, 1778-1841 by 
Thomas Morrissey, S.J. (Catholic University of America Press), is the biography of a 
remarkable Irishman to whom the Society of Jesus in both Ireland and the United 
States owes a great debt. He helped to reestablish the Jesuits in Ireland on a sound 
footing; but his greatest work was to help the Society in the United States get started 
in the early nineteenth century. We have little realization of how uncertain a 
prospect that was, beset as our predecessors were with national differences, small 
resources, differing priorities, vast distances, unfocused apostolates, and a good 
number of other obstacles. As an official "visitor" to the United States, Kenney was 
an invaluable resource of insight, intelligence, courage, and decisiveness. Jo Ann Kay 
McNamara's Sisters in Arms: Catholic Nuns through Two Millennia (Howard Univer- 
sity Press) gives women religious the honor and the credit they deserve. The author 
is utterly forthright in telling the story and gives the reader a well- written history 
stretching from the desert hermits to the convents of the Middle Ages to the 


apostolic orders of today. These sisterhoods through the ages "created the image of 
the autonomous woman. They formed the professions through which it was acti- 
vated. They still devote their lives to the care and development of human beings 
everywhere." This story, too, will enlarge the reader's horizon. Finally, Impelling 
Spirit by Joseph F. Conwell, S.J. (Loyola Press), as the subtitle puts it, revisits "a 
founding experience, 1539, [of] Ignatius of Loyola and his companions." The author 
takes the salutation and three sentences of the draft of a covering letter proposed as a 
letter from the Pope in approving the Formula of the Institute and "unpacks" their 
meaning. Those sentences never saw the light of day in the final version of Paul HI, 
but they vividly and directly express how the first fathers thought of themselves and 
of their proposed spirit and aims. This is not a book for a hurried reading; it situates 
its material in its several contexts — spiritual, cultural, theological, and historical — and 
asks the reader to share in the processes of discernment by which the ten compan- 
ions, impelled by the Spirit, determined on the way of life they desired and by which 
Pope Paul HI evaluated the authenticity of their call from the Spirit. The intrinsic 
worth of the study is enhanced by a rich bibliography. 

Oh, yes! 1997 is also the four-hundredth anniversary of the pledge by the 
citizens of Rome "to give every year to the church of the Professed House [that is, 
the Gesu], a silver chalice and four large white candles." This pledge is being hon- 
ored, in part at least, to this very day. I just thought you would like to know that. 

John W. Padberg, SJ. 



Situating the Question 1 

My Purpose 2 

What Do Jesuit Documents Say about Informing the Superior? 5 

What Type of Information Should One Provide? 14 

What Is the Purpose of the Informatio? 19 

Proposing Reforms 22 

Conclusion 28 

SOURCES: Ignatius and the Apostolate in Germany 34 


The Spiritual Writings of Pierre Favre 
The Memoriale and Selected Letters and Instructions 

This is a long-awaited first full English translation from 
the definitive critical edition of Favre's works in the 
Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu. 

A spiritual autobiography is a record of God's dealings 
with an individual and the person's response to God. Pierre 
Favre's Memoriale is fully in that tradition. 

Favre, the person whom Ignatius of Loyola thought the 
best director of the Spiritual Exercises, left as a legacy both a 
spiritual autobiography/diary traditionally called the Memoriale 
and a series of letters and instructions. 

The twenty-seven selected letters and instructions range 
across time, space and recipients, in time from 1540 to 1546, in 
space from almost one end of Western Europe to the other. 
The recipients include, among many others, Ignatius Loyola in 
Rome and Francis Xavier in India, King John III of Portugal 
and a confraternity of laypersons, and a Carthusian prior in 
Cologne and a group setting out on a pilgrimage. 

The introduction places Favre's life and work in its 
historical setting, discusses the characteristics of spiritual 
autobiography, deals with the discernment of spirits in Favre's 
work, describes the several versions of the text of the 
Memoriale, puts in context the letters and instructions included 
in this volume, and tells what happened to the memory of and 
devotion to Favre after his death. 

xvi -I- 437 pp. Glossary, Indexes 
Hardcover: ISBN 1-880810-25-5 / $57.95 plus postage 
Paperback: ISBN 1-880810-26-3 / $39.95 plus postage 

The Institute of Jesuit Sources 
3700 W. Pine Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108 
Telephone 314-977-7257 / FAX 314-977-7263 

Are Informationes Ethical? 

Situating the Question 

From the perspective of contemporary ethical reflection, this essay 
examines the Jesuit practice of formally requesting information about its 
members. By looking into this procedure, I am not simply trying to reform 
the informatio, an instrument that we have been using for centuries. My 
more important goal is to persuade Jesuits to think, discuss, and reflect 
critically with one another on this practice. Had I only wanted to work 
toward the reformation of the traditional methods of garnering information, 
I would have contented myself with appealing to the Jesuit Conference. 
Instead, through the Jesuit Seminar on Spirituality, I wish to engage all 
Jesuits in the process of reflecting on an instrument that we use on one 
another, one with ramifications in our Jesuit lives. 

Let me acknowledge the limits of both my investigation and my 
competency. As. I examine informationes, I will focus only on those that are 
used for formation, not on those that precede the appointment of major 
superiors. 1 In view of this limitation, I shall use the technical term "scholas- 
tic," which includes those who are ordained but who have not yet pro- 
nounced final vows. Though we distinguish novice brothers from novice 

1 The Latin word informatio (pi. informationes) is traditional usage in the 
Society, and no entirely satisfactory English translation for this expression comes to mind. 
Perhaps "personnel report" would serve, but this does not seem entirely suitable either, at 
least because of its connotations. So in this essay we will use the traditional informatio and 
its Latin plural, informationes, and let readers read the words as they please. 

James F. Keenan, S.J., with a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian 
University, is associate professor of moral theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology. 
Virtues for Ordinary Christians (Sheed and Ward) is among his recent publications. He 
is presently working on a collection of essays tentatively entitled "Church Leadership 
Ethics. " His address is Weston Jesuit School of Theology, 3 Phillips Place, Cambridge, MA 

* James F. Keenan, S.J. 

scholastics, nonetheless, I use the term "scholastic" to include everyone who 
does not yet have final vows. 

In addition, I hope the reader will recognize that those who are 
most affected by informationes, that is, "the scholastics," do not occupy a 
position of equality in the Society. Not enjoying the same protection or 
security as those with final vows, the "scholastic" is more at the mercy of 
this device of scrutiny than are the formed members. Consequently, the 
power inequity already experienced by the scholastic is compounded when 
the instrument employed to evaluate his fitness is not appropriately used. 
The scholastic, already so vulnerable, deserves to have those in power 
carefully scrutinize the instrument they employ when estimating his qualifi- 
cations and subsequently deciding whether to incorporate him fully into the 

My experience with informationes is limited. I was an acting 
consultor here at the Weston Jesuit Community for one semester and read 
many informationes of those applying for diaconate ordination. Aside from 
that semester, my only experience has been that of an ordinary Jesuit: I 
occasionally filled out informationes myself and was aware that now and 
then others filled them out on me. 

In the course of this essay, I address five topics. First, I specify my 
purpose. Second, I examine Jesuit documents in search of guidelines on the 
topic. Third, I ask what type of information ought to be provided in the 
informatio. Fourth, I contrast two very different purposes that the informa- 
tiones are designed to serve. Fifth, I propose certain reforms to the informa- 
tio process. I conclude by suggesting other areas of our lives together that I 
think deserve critical ethical reflection. 

My Purpose 

During the generalate of Father Pedro Arrupe, the Society of Jesus 
entered a phase of development marked by a growing concern for its 
members. The Jesuits' identity as "shock troops" became considerably 
mollified by its own internal call for cura personalis. This care became 
notably evident in the relationship that developed between superiors and 
their charges. The former became progressively more interested in listening 
to their community members, in discerning with them the needs and 
mission of the community, and in explaining to all their own decisions. In 
effect, superiors surrendered considerable power in order to move all the 
Society's members toward stronger fraternity and better service of others. 

In the evaluation of those in formation, this personal concern 
became particularly salient. Over the years local superiors and provincials 

Are Informationes Ethical? 

have sought to better reflect the fraternity that our Constitutions encourage. 
In particular, superiors attempted to extend care and compassion to each of 
their men being considered for advancement in the Society. These relational 
emphases have significantly humanized a process that had long been in need 
of it. 

Many of those modifications were initiated on an individual basis, 
however. A given provincial intuited a need for change and acted in accor- 
dance with his lights. While he may have consulted his socius or formation 
assistant, he did not engage in hard, critical discussion with others outside 
his own office. Individual provincials did not discuss with other provincials 
how they proceeded nor did they consult the opinions and experiences of 
scholastics, ethicists, spiritual directors, canon lawyers, and others with much 
to contribute to such a discussion. In short, the reforms, humane, thought- 
ful, and compassionate though they were, never reached a broader forum 
where various competent persons could subject them to critical reflection. 

From my viewpoint, that of a Jesuit who teaches ethics, the reforms 
were a good beginning, but not at all adequate. They were inadequate 
because they did not engage fundamental ethical concerns. Like others in my 
field, I raise ethical concerns regarding paternalism, due process, equity, 
fidelity, confidentiality, conflicting roles, critical explanations, stated pur- 
poses, and the ability to universalize processes. These are the fundamental 
concepts ethicists use to evaluate how objectively right a particular human 
activity is. I bring, therefore, these concerns to this essay. I will elaborate on 
each of them throughout the essay; but every time I invoke an ethical 
evaluation of the informationes, I have these standard concerns in mind, 
because they allow us a critical vantage point from which to examine 
whether or not our way of proceeding is ethically right. I hope they will 
contribute in part toward how we as a group evaluate informationes. 

This essay does not at all denigrate the important and laudable 
contributions of individual superiors and provincials. Instead, I am looking 
at an instrument, the informatio, and a practice, the gathering of informa- 
tion about the scholastics. As a virtue ethicist, I am particularly concerned 
about the way practices and instruments form us. John O'Malley illustrated 
this point in his First Jesuits, where he explained the extraordinary effect that 
its newly adopted apostolate of teaching exerted upon the early Society. 2 He 
demonstrated that taking control of educational institutions significantly 
shaped the future course of our apostolic service and self-image. We were 
changed by the practices we adopted. 

2 John O'Malley The First Jesuits (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1993), esp. 

* James F. Keenan, SJ. 

My purpose, then, is simply to initiate some ethical discussion about 
the Jesuit practice of informationes. In other forums I have been promoting 
such discussions for several years. Here at Weston Jesuit, in my introductory 
classes on moral theology and in my courses on casuistry, I have raised the 
question of the ethics of informationes. Inevitably I find that Jesuit scholas- 
tics have given long and hard thought to this question and eagerly welcome 
the discussion. Moreover, before submitting this essay to the Jesuit Seminar, 
I sent first-draft copies of it to various scholastics, spiritual directors, consul- 
tors, formatoreSy ethicists, and canonists: Kevin Burke, Thomas Clark, 
Katherine Clarke, John Coleman, Howard Gray, Robert Kaslyn, James 
Lafontaine, Thomas Lawler, Virgilio Oliveira-Costa, Martin O'Malley, 
Ladislas Orsy, Robert Reiser, Andrea Vicini, and Michael Wilson. Each gave 
me extensive comments. I have learned and benefited from these very diverse 
responses, and I am convinced that a dialogue on this practice is well 
underway. But this dialogue must be critical. 

Engaging in a penetrating critical review of a practice that we have 
long used with one another will not be an easy task, because old biases 
remain, hiding behind age-old presumptions. For instance, it is a familiar 
adage that the informationes reveal more about the informant than about the 
scholastic. Those who believe this often assume that, given human nature, 
this will always be the case; but I think that this is a gratuitous assumption. 
Informationes disclose so much of the informant because he has never been 
provided with sufficient guidelines on the use of this instrument, and so has 
simply relied (like the compassionate provincial) on his own intuitions. 
Inasmuch as Jesuits are routinely prohibited from discussing a specific 
informatio and inasmuch as few Jesuits ever receive any ethical guidelines on 
the informationes, informants will continue to provide formatores with 
inadequate information, not because they are unenlightened or uncoopera- 
tive, but because the Society has not provided them a context in which to 
learn how to use the instrument properly. 

Periodically we seriously evaluate our men in formation, relying on 
an important instrument whose ethical aspects we have not studied suffi- 
ciently. That lack of sufficient reflection explains our inadequate appreciation 
of the ethical complexities that such invasive and frequent informationes 
present and their marked impact on scholastics in particular and on the 
Society as a whole. Admitting all this will not be easy, especially for the 
many who have used this process with considerable care in their own 
administrations. But we need to recognize that caring for our men and 
showing them compassion do not necessarily guarantee that we are comply- 
ing with ethical norms. Care and compassion indicate love, to be sure; 

Are Informationes Ethical? 

compliance with ethical norms, however, depends on institutional manage- 
ment and critical reflection. 

What Do Jesuit Documents Say about Informing the Superior? 

Whereas the contemporary ear might find the phrase "informing the 
superior" jarring and unsettling, it is a longtime usage among Jesuits. The 
Society has practiced it since its foundation, and we individual members have 
grown accustomed to it since our earliest years. For this reason the Constitu- 
tions warn us in advance that anyone seeking admission ought to be asked 
whether he can live with this practice. 

For the sake of his greater progress in his spiritual life, and especially 
for his greater lowliness and humility, he should be asked whether he will 
be willing to have all his errors and defects, and anything else which will be 
noticed or known about him, manifested to his superiors by anyone who 
knows them outside of confession; and further, whether he along with all 
the others will be willing to aid in correcting and being corrected, and 
manifest one another with due love and charity, in order to help one 
another more in the spiritual life, especially when this will be requested of 
him by the superior who has charge of them for the greater glory of God. 3 

So from the beginnings of the Society and, likewise, at the outset of a 
candidate's experience of the Society, the process of having one of the 
brethren fill out informationes on another has been integral to the growth of 
the scholastic. In fact, the first stated purpose for this practice is that each 
may achieve his "greater progress." 

The Constitutions specifically apply this practice to the experiments 
from which the novice's superior is to receive "testimonials" as well as 
"other reports" ([78]). The Constitutions urge the superior to "have a 
complete understanding of the subjects" and explain why information is 
important for the Society's mission ([91]). 

[T]he more thoroughly they are aware of the interior and exterior affairs of 
their subjects, with so much greater diligence, love, and care will they be 
able to help the subjects and to guard their souls from the various difficul- 
ties and dangers which might occur later on. . . . Therefore, to proceed 
without error in such missions, or in sending some persons and not others, 
or some for one task and others for different ones, it is not only highly but 
even supremely important that the superior have complete knowledge of 

3 Constitutions, [63] (hereafter abbreviated Cons.). All citations from the Constitu- 
tions and from the Complementary Norms are taken from The Constitutions of the Society of 
Jesus and Their Complementary Norms, John Padberg, ed. (Saint Louis: Institute of Jesuit 
Sources, 1996). 

►I- James F. Keenan, SJ. 

the inclinations and motions of those who are in his charge, and to what 
defects or sins they have been or are more moved and inclined; so that thus 
he may direct them better, without placing them beyond the measure of 
their capacity in dangers or labors greater than they could in our Lord 
endure with a spirit of love; and also so that the superior, while keeping to 
himself what he learns in secret, may be better able to organize and arrange 
what is expedient for the whole body of the Society. ([92]) 

Whereas the previous concern focused on the candidate's willingness 
to have his faults known and reported for the sake of his spiritual progress, 
the concern here is that the superior has adequate information to assign the 
individual where he can best advance the Society's mission. For the past four 
hundred and fifty years, this need fostered in the Society's members an 
appreciation of the practice of developing at least a one-way information 
highway to the superior. 

According to the Constitutions, that one-way information highway 
did not pass only through houses of formation. On the analogy of an official 
position existing in the medieval community, throughout the provinces in 
the early years of the Society a syndic could be appointed who effectively 
had the responsibility to inform on, well, anything. 

There will also be a general syndic who is to give information to the 
rector, the provincial, and the general about both the persons and things 
which he will deem noteworthy. . . . 

In addition to this general syndic the rector will have his own particu- 
lar syndic to refer to him what happens in each class and requires his 
intervention. ([504]) 

The regularity of this flow of information from the syndic is highlighted by 
the norm that "[e]ven if the syndics have no business of moment, they 
should report this fact to the superior, at least every Saturday" ([506]). 

Moreover, the one-way information highway passed through the 
superiors' lives as well. A superior might find a collateral assigned to him, an 
associate sent to assist him because the latter lacked experience or needed an 
equal rather than a subject to help him. This collateral in turn was to inform 
the provincial or general about the superior ([659-61]). But as one editor of 
the Constitutions notes, "This office, used at times in the early Society, was 
never in use later nor was it ever abrogated" ([659 n. 2]). 

The Constitutions mandate that the superior be well-informed, in 
the full sense of that word, in order both to help his scholastics progress and 
to make prudent decisions regarding assignments. The contemporary reader, 
recognizing the Constitutions' interest in the scholastic's progress, will 
probably be surprised to see that this document makes no allusion whatso- 
ever to communicating any of this information to the scholastic as he moves 

Are Informationes Ethical? •!• 7 

along from the novitiate to the tertianship. The only exception is that the 
scholastic should be willing to listen when informed about his faults. In no 
Jesuit document have I discovered any acknowledgement that it might 
promote a man's spiritual progress and suitability for the Society's mission if 
superiors would share with him the knowledge they have gained from 

Likewise, the Constitutions contain no directives at all concerning 
the responsible use of this material: no process is described for soliciting 
information; no standards are set up for gathering the information. Rather, 
the Constitutions' basic concern is to make the Society's members aware of 
how important it is to inform the superior. 

The newly published Complementary Norms to the Constitutions 
treat the responsible transmission of information with much greater preci- 
sion. For instance, they offer an "authoritative interpretation" of the "pre- 
scription of the General Examen on the manifestation of faults." From an 
ethical viewpoint, this interpretation is very important: it acknowledges the 
discernment that the superior ought to have when receiving information and 
it specifies the type of information that ought to be communicated. This 
norm insists not only that information be provided but that it be provided 
responsibly. It raises such concerns as the truthfulness of the information 
received, the superior's willingness to withhold judgment on the person 
being reported on, and the right of the subject to defend himself. 

1° Since the purpose of the manifestation of the defects of others to 
the superior is both the common good and the spiritual progress of individ- 
uals, it should proceed only from the motivation of charity and be done in 
such a way as to manifest love and charity. 

2° All are allowed to manifest to the superior as to a father any defect, 
small or great, of another; but this does not refer to those things that the 
person reveals about himself to another in an account of conscience or in 
secret or for the sake of seeking advice, so that he might be directed or 
helped; nor need Ours wait until they are asked by the superior. 

3° Each one not only can but should manifest to the superior as to a 
father matters about to cause serious harm to the common good or immi- 
nent danger to some third party, so that he may secretly and prudently 
provide for both the good of the subject involved and for religious life in 

4° The manifestation should be made to the immediate superior unless 
serious reasons suggest that it should be made to the mediate one, in which 
case these reasons are to be made known to the latter. 

5° Superiors should not lightly give credence to those who report the 
fault of another; rather, they should inquire into each such matter. In 
particular, they should listen to the one who was reported, so that he can 

8 * James F. Keenan, SJ. 

defend himself; and if he is found innocent, the one who reported him 
should be reprehended or punished, in accord with the gravity of the 
matter, (no. 235) 

This norm is pivotal for discerning the answers to particular ethical 
questions about any information given to the superior, including the infor- 
mationes. It excludes a certain kind of information that cannot be given to 
the superior, that is, anything that the subject disclosed to another for the 
sake of receiving help. It also mandates punishment for those who misin- 

Earlier the Norms, while addressing another source of information, 
that is, the account of conscience, lay down another restriction in order to 
protect confidentiality: 

§1. The account of conscience, by which the superior becomes able to 
take part in each one's discernment and to help him therein, is to retain 
intact its value and vitality as an element of great moment in the spiritual 
governance of the Society. Therefore, all should give an account of con- 
science to their superiors, according to the norms and spirit of the Society, 
inspired by charity, with any obligation under pain of sin always precluded. 
In addition, the relationships between superiors and their brethren in the 
Society should be such as to encourage the manifestation of conscience and 
conversation about spiritual matters. 

§2. No one, without exception, may directly or indirectly make 
known what has been revealed in an account of conscience unless it is with 
the express consent of the one rendering the account, (no. 155) 

Here we find self-disclosure again protected: the superior is told not to 
disclose anything derived from the account without the subject's explicit 
consent. This norm restrains the provincial and others, regardless of their 
good intentions, from discussing any material that the subject reveals about 

These two norms, then, protect the scholastics and validate the 
practice of keeping confidences. Nonetheless, while the superior's need for 
information is clearly underscored, the Norms still preserve the one-direc- 
tional character of the information highway. Even the last congregation left 
unchanged our written law and the presumption that the superior would be 
the only direct recipient of all the information garnered. 

In neither the Norms nor the Constitutions are informationes 
specifically discussed. Their presentation is found in the recently edited 
Practica qutedam, the practical manual approved by Father General for the 
use of those preparing correspondence to him. This source first refers to 
information gathering when discussing the process to be followed when a 

Are Informationes Ethical? 

candidate applies for admission to the Society. The candidate must be 
interviewed by four examiners; 4 but, 

if the candidate is not already sufficiently well known, information should 
be sought, if possible before the examination, from trustworthy persons on 
his spiritual and bodily health, his practice of the Christian life, his personal 
qualities and character, as well as on his family and his vocation, (no. 40) 

Later, when sending a man to theological studies, the provincial should again 
gather information. 

Before sending a scholastic to begin theology studies, or, where theol- 
ogy is studied at various times, before beginning the period which precedes 
priestly ordination, the Provincial should seek written information. To do 
so he should follow the usage established in the Province. The Provincial 
will examine this information with his Consultors. Following the prescrip- 
tions of Compendium practicum iuris S. I., no. 167, the candidate should not 
be sent to theology if there is any positive doubt about his suitability, (no. 

But the most detailed instructions for taking informationes appear 
in regard to application for ordination: 

The candidate requesting Orders may suggest the names of a few 
people who know him well to provide information. The competent Provin- 
cial will designate those who are to be asked for information and send them 
the form used in the Province for granting approval for ordination. He may 
also give a copy of this form to the candidate, giving him the opportunity 
of a self-evaluation. 

The forms for the information, of which a model is provided in App. 
no. 1, may be adapted to the peculiar circumstances of Provinces, with the 
prior approval of Father General. 

Information is to be requested from four Jesuits (or more, if there is a 
special reason) who know the candidate well. When sending them the 
printed form, the Provincial will add a personal letter underlining the 
importance, responsibility, and confidentiality of the service being re- 

In addition, the Superior and Consultors of the house in which the 
candidate lives will discuss his aptitude for priesthood. The Superior will 
send the competent Provincial his own opinion and that of his consultors. 

The names of those who have requested sacred Orders should be 
published in good time in the Province, offering to all the possibility of 
informing the Provincial about their suitability for ordination, before the 
Consultation which will deal with it. 

4 Practica qtuedam (Rome: Curia of the Superior General, 1991), no. 39. 

10 * James F. Keenan, SJ. 

All this information and these judgments will be examined in the 
Province Consultation. The Provincial will make the final decision and 
inform Father General. (62-67) 

Lastly, for final vows, the Practica quczdam states: 

At the appropriate moment, the Provincial must ask for information 
on the candidate from four Jesuits (or more, if it seems advisable). He may- 
take names suggested by the candidate. The informants should be men of 
sound judgment who know the candidate well. Conscious of their responsi- 
bility towards the Society and the individual, the informants should give 
their opinion with the greatest possible objectivity, with prudence and 
charity and complete confidentiality, (no. 78) 

In addition to this information, the Provincial consultation should have, in 
the case of those who are priests, the informationes prepared prior to the 
scholastic's ordination (no. 80). In the event that Father General decides to 
defer final vows, that deferral is for one year and "complete information 
must be requested again for a fresh presentation in the Consultation." If the 
deferral is only for six months, then the provincial may decide whether 
there is need for another set of informationes (no. 86). 

Reading these guidelines from the Practica quczdam should lead to at 
least four conclusions. First, as opposed to the practice common in the 
United States, the Practica requires the gathering of information on only 
three occasions: prior to theology, prior to ordination, and prior to final 
vows. In this country, however, informationes are prepared with greater 
frequency. Though the Constitutions demand testimonials only from the 
directors of the novice's experiments, in the States some novice directors 
solicit informationes from others when a man applies for first vows. Like- 
wise, some provinces gather some information at the end of a man's philoso- 
phy studies, prior to his assignment to regency. Moreover, besides the 
informationes that are requested for one invited to apply for final vows, 
"pseudo informationes" are gathered in some provinces when an individual 
applies for tertianship. Thus it is not uncommon that six sets of informatio- 
nes are sought for a U.S. Jesuit as he makes his way from entrance to final 

We should not think that other provinces follow the same practice. 
For instance, in Italy there are only two times that informationes are used— 
for ordination and final vows. In France, there is a third occasion— in 
preparation for regency. In this case, however, the question is not about 
whether to advance, but rather whither. Here the scholastic provides the 
provincial with the names of four or five Jesuits, who in turn are asked to 
suggest to the provincial the type of ministry for which the scholastic shows 
the greatest aptitude. 

Are Informationes Ethical? •!• 11 

Our American tendency to resort to documentation sets us apart 
from the rest of the Society. How, after all, did we as an assistancy decide to 
engage in so many investigations, far more than other provinces and assis- 
tances? When some U.S. provinces use the informatio three times as often as 
the world's largest province, should this not stir up a question or two? As 
we added yet another systematic evaluation to a scholastic's formation 
program, did we try to justify our policy, or did we simply presume that 
frequently documenting a person's advancement is helpful, without consider- 
ing the effects that such repeated formal evaluations can have on a person? 
Or indeed, is our frequent recourse to documentation merely a reflection of 
our culture? If so, this mind-set deserves examination. 

Second, among its norms for petitioning ordination, the Practica 
quaedam suggests a method of proceeding notably different from the proce- 
dure presently followed in the United States. Our method seems to have 
been tentatively articulated in a memo issued by the Jesuit Conference in 
1971, entitled "Proposed Guidelines for Evaluation of Candidates to Be 
Ordained Jesuit Priests." In the last two paragraphs we read: 

It is important that all candidates in the Society be helped to an on- 
going appraisal of their growth in accordance with the ideal outlined here. 
In this connection, from the knowledge of the candidate (which he derives 
from all the members of a candidates's community, from others who know 
the candidate well, and from the candidate's account of conscience), the 
Major Superior ideally would have little, if any, need of evaluation forms 
and "informatio" sheets. 

However, evaluation forms retain their importance and should be used. 
But forms are to be viewed as instruments which are intended to help the 
candidate grow more fully in the spirit of the Society and to assist the 
Provincial in his progressive evaluation towards ultimate approval of the 
candidate for ordination. They should be filled out initially at the local 
level and forwarded to the Provincial by the Local Superior, after consulta- 
tion with both the candidate and the consultors in the community. 5 

Before examining the differences between the U.S. practices and the 
Practica qu&dam, I want to note that the Jesuit Conference stated in 1971 
that the basic "ideal" was to have "little, if any need of evaluation forms and 
"informatio sheets." Yet, since 1971 we have, by more frequently resorting 
to informationes, increased our dependency on these sheets. This shift 
suggests that the present tendency to frequent evaluations is a departure not 

5 Jesuit Conference of the American Assistancy, "Proposed Guidelines for 
Evaluation of Candidates to be Ordained Jesuit Priests," ed., John V. O'Connor, Executive 
Secretary, memo addressed to Jesuit Communities (November 8, 1971), 6. 

12 •*• James F. Keenan, SJ. 

only from the common practice of other Jesuits around the world but also 
from the original intentions of our own Jesuit Conference. 

According to the U.S. practice regarding preordination evaluation, 
the local superior of the theologate, not the provincial, selects the infor- 
mants. Then, the superior with his consultors reads the informationes, 
comments on them, and sends both the informationes and their own 
comments on to the provincial and his consultors. The differences between 
the methods are numerous. First, whereas the provincial might select 
informants from both the province as well as members of the theologate, the 
local superior usually picks informants exclusively from the theologate, most 
of whom are not from the scholastic's province. 

Second, the provincial receives informationes from mostly "unfamil- 
iar" sources. Moreover, these come bolstered by comments from both the 
local superior and his consultors, the majority of whom are certainly not 
from the provincial's province. The provincial's own familiarity with those 
supplying the information is seriously deficient. 

Third, in contrast to the Practica guidelines, where the informatio- 
nes are sent to the provincial directly, the current method requires the local 
superior and his consultors to "interpret" the informationes. If the local 
superior and his consultors disagree, even slightly, with an informatio, the 
reports from the superior and consultors will countervail the original 
informationes. The result is that ironically, the informationes gain greater 
influence in the U.S. practice. In the Practica the local superior and consul- 
tors gave their own assessments, independent of informationes; here, before 
any assessment is given, the local consultor must first read the local informa- 
tiones. His assessment is certainly influenced by what he has read. 

Fourth, a surprising number of people see these professedly con- 
fidential informationes. The provincial, his consultors, and in some instances 
his staff see them, as well as the local superior and his consultors. Moreover, 
in some provinces the assistant for formation has his own "consultors" who 
see these informationes as well. When ethics demands that no one should see 
confidential material who does not have a serious need to do so, one won- 
ders what rule governs the expansion of this circle of readers? 

Fifth, there are important issues of conflicting roles here. Remem- 
bering that usually the majority of the informationes in this procedure are 
filled out by scholastics and realizing that half of the theologate's consultors 
who interpret the informationes and evaluate the scholastic are themselves 
scholastics, then if a man is "approved" or "delayed," it is usually due to the 
judgment of those who are either themselves petitioning ordination or will 
soon do so. 

Are Informationes Ethical? -I* 13 

As an ethicist familiar with other organizations' procedures of 
advancement, I have never seen such a melange of conflicting roles. For 
instance, in educational institutions granting tenure, a nontenured member 
may be allowed to submit a letter of support for a petitioner, but the actual 
evaluation of the petition and of the letters is made solely by tenured 
faculty. Persons striving for advancement are too swayed by a variety of 
fears and hopes to review and decide about another who applies for advance- 
ment. Thus, as in the tenure policy, throughout our culture we allow peers 
to contribute their estimate of another's fitness for advancement, but we 
permit only those already secure in their status to render judgment on 
another's application. 

According to our practice, a scholastic can be invited to submit an 
informatio on a fellow scholastic. In addition, we now allow scholastic 
consultors to review those informationes and vote to approve another for 
diaconal ordination. This latter innovation departs from the specific guide- 
line that ethicists have urged upon other institutions. Presumably this new 
practice went into effect in order to share the "power" of decision making 
across "grades," but that practice seriously compromises a guideline found 
advantageous in almost every other institution that reviews members for 

Finally, the U.S. method, in which the U.S. provincials handed over 
to the local superior the selection of the informants and, effectively, dele- 
gated to the theologates the task of determining whether the scholastic is 
approved for ordination, places enormous stress on the theologates each year 
and creates to some extent an air of suspicion. 

This shift of responsibility preceded a third divergence between 
current U.S. practices and the Practica. Recently some provincials have 
invoked the Practical norm for posting the names of those petitioning 
ordination, in order to offer "to all the possibility of informing the Provin- 
cial." This exercise, perhaps a copy of the old custom of posting the banns 
of marriage, allows the provincial (who now does not know the majority of 
those submitting informationes) to notify the entire province that he is 
willing to receive any information they care to offer. Would the provincial 
extend this blanket, indiscriminate invitation to submit information if he 
himself were selecting the four informants in accordance with the Practica} 

Instead of employing this norm univocally, the provincials seem to 
interpret it arbitrarily. Some invite their province to submit information, 
others do not; and some of those that do invite contributions one year do 
not do so the next. What all of them have in common this year is that none 
(that I saw) offered any guidelines at all about what constitutes responsible 
informing. That is, while the provincials turned to the Practica quxdam to 

14 ■*■ James F. Keenan, SJ. 

extend a blanket invitation to inform, none turned to the newly minted 
Complementary Norms for guidance in responsible informing. Some of the 
objects of such a careless, haphazardly used instrument, the scholastics, 
namely, refer to this random, indiscriminate invitation as the "turkey shoot." 

Fourth, in the Practica as in the other Jesuit documents, no standard 
at all regulates what information is to be imparted to the scholastic at the 
conclusion of this process. 

What Type of Information Should One Provide? 

In the new Complementary Norms we find that any information 
that the scholastic "reveals about himself to another in an account of 
conscience or in secret or for the sake of seeking advice" ought not be 
included in information reporting. This canonical standard is important and 
is consonant with ethical norms. To grasp this matter more clearly, let us 
consider the four types of information that we are dealing with. Someone 
can acquire knowledge by self-disclosure on the part of another, observation, 
and hearsay, and he can receive unsolicited information from others. 

Self-disclosed information includes anything that a Jesuit tells 
another about himself for the sake of seeking advice. Generally society at 
large protects this type of knowledge in most forums. For instance, in the 
courts of law, our Constitution protects its citizens against involuntary self- 
incrimination. Likewise, spousal privilege exists because the intimate nature 
of the relationship makes it impossible to distinguish self-disclosing conversa- 
tions from other conversations. Moreover, that protection accorded self- 
disclosed, confidential information confers upon a confessor a privileged 
position not only in the Church but also in civil society. 6 Similarly, lawyers, 
physicians, and therapists are required to protect the confidentiality of 
material disclosed to them. 7 

6 Paul Dechant, "Confidentiality and the Pastoral Minister," The Journal of 
Pastoral Care 45 (1991): 61-69; William Rankin, Confidentiality and the Clergy (Harrisburg: 
Morehouse, 1990); Michael Smith, "The Pastor on the Witness Stand," The Catholic Lawyer 
29 (Winter 1984): 1-21; John Thomas, "Confidentiality and the Clergy," Journal of Pastoral 
Counseling 23 (1988): 108-16; William Tiemann and John Bush, The Right to Silence: 
Privileged Clergy Communication and the Law (Nashville: Abingdon, 1983). 

7 Two cases have engendered considerable discussion. The first is Tarasojf, where 
the California Supreme Court ruled that a psychiatrist whose patient confided an intention 
to kill his girlfriend had an obligation to inform the potential victim. See Paul Appel- 
baum, "Tarasoff and the Clinician," American Journal of Psychiatry 142 (1985): 425-29; 
James Beck, ed. Confidentiality versus the Duty to Protect (Washington, D.C.: American 
Psychiatric Association, 1990). The second case involved the release to her biographer of 

Are Informationes Ethical? *V 15 

Even though revelations of confidential material may occasionally 
avert harm, still in almost every area of life— for example, familial, business, 
academic, medical, professional, and religious— ethicists insist upon the need 
to protect privileged information and the need to encourage each to respect 
the other's privacy. For this reason, several ethicists have written urging 
ministers in particular to develop professional standards of confidentiality 
applicable to their ministries. 8 Unanimously they insist that self-disclosed 
information must be protected. 

Applying this insight to the question of the types of information 
that ought to be excluded from an informatio leads to notable ramifications. 
While the seal of confession clearly prohibits the scholastic's confessor from 
releasing any material from the internal forum, what guidelines apply to the 
scholastic's spiritual director? Should she or he fill out an informatio? 
Certainly it would seem that the director has information that is both 
privileged and biased, since the source of the director's knowledge is clearly 
the scholastic's own self-disclosure. Therefore, this knowledge, like confes- 
sional material, ought not be disclosed. 

Someone might suggest, however, that the director could offer his 
impressions of the scholastic based on what he has observed outside of 
spiritual direction; but in practice, could the director effectively wall off 
what he has observed from what the scholastic has disclosed, revealing 
material from one source and not from the other? Claiming to do so would 
be greeted with suspicion at best. 

Further complications arise when during philosophy, regency, or 
theology the candidate's spiritual director happens to be among the consul- 
tors reading his informationes and evaluating his progress. If the director 
ought not to fill out an informatio, should he not also be excluded from 
evaluating the candidate? Inasmuch as a supportive relationship should exist 
between the director and the scholastic, it seems that the director ought not 

Anne Sexton's medical records on the part of her therapist. See Society 29 (1992): 5-26, 
esp. Barbara Lewin, "The Anne Sexton Controversy," 9-11; Paul Roazen, "Privacy and 
Therapy," 14-17; Moisy Shopper, "Breaching Confidentiality," 24-26. Also see James 
Keenan, "Sexton's Last Tapes," Commonweal 118 (1991): 635-37. 

8 Joseph Allen, "Recent Books on Ministerial Ethics," Interpretation 45 (1991): 
406-11, 414; Margaret Battin, Ethics in the Sanctuary (New Haven: Yale University, 1990); 
William Everett, "Human Rights in the Church," Religious Human Rights in Global 
Perspective, ed. J. Witte and J. D. Van der Vyer (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 
1996), 121-40; Richard Gula, Ethics in Pastoral Ministry (New York: Paulist Press, 1996); 
James Keenan, "Confidentiality, Disclosure, and Fiduciary Responsibility," Theological 
Studies 54 (1993): 142-59; Karen Lebacqz, Professional Ethics: Power and Paradox (Nashville: 
Abingdon, 1985); Anne Patrick, Liberating Conscience (New York: Continuum, 1996). 

16 * James F. Keenan, SJ. 

to assume an evaluative role with regard to the same person. For example, 
consider the case of the scholastic whose admittance to theology is delayed 
for a year. His spiritual director is among the consultors. Now the scholas- 
tic, who would like to have the freedom to search his soul and weigh his 
response to this deferral, faces a spiritual director who he knows participated 
in the decision to delay his advancement. Unfortunately, in the absence of 
any contrary policy, the scholastic, already somewhat marginalized by his 
deferral, is further alienated by any suspicions that he may have of the 
director. Thus, the privileged position that the Ignatian vision accords to the 
spiritual director is compromised unless we exclude the director from both 
the informatio and the consultative-evaluative processes. But, in the absence 
of any explicit policy, some spiritual directors following their intuitions fill 
out informationes and others vote at consultations. 

Good casuists that they are, some readers might ask whether the 
spiritual director could not be allowed to speak, but only in favor of the 
scholastic. They may see an analogy between the Society and civil society, 
where clients ask their therapists to testify regarding their suitability for a 
particular position. Similarly, some readers might permit the director to 
testify to the scholastic's spiritual progress. While I consider this a credible 
approach, I also think that we should curb our tendency to go after informa- 
tion no matter where we must search. Nonetheless, in a rather extreme 
situation, one could ask the spiritual director for his input, but only, as the 
Complementary Norms prescribe, with the scholastic's consent. 

The topic of spiritual direction becomes even more convoluted in 
those novitiates where the novice's spiritual director could be the novice 
master or his assistant. It seems here that the practice of conflating the two 
is again problematic. How does it serve the interests of a man to develop a 
relationship of self-disclosure with a person who is evaluating him? Many 
difficulties have ensued when in some instances the combined novice master- 
spiritual director refused to give the provincial any information on the 
novice, and others have arisen when he did give information. If spiritual 
direction was separated from evaluation of any kind, the integrity of the 
former would be better preserved. 

Other informants as well ought to observe both ethical standards 
and the Complementary Norms on this matter, namely, using no informa- 
tion that the scholastic disclosed about himself in any sort of confidential 
context. If the scholastic has disclosed in confidence to a friend something 
like his concern for a family member, then that information is privileged 
and not to be communicated. The one possessing the information would, 
thus maintain confidentiality, thereby practicing a virtue most becoming a 

Are Informationes Ethical? -I* 17 

What does this mean in concrete terms? One scholastic told me, "I 
never put my best friend or my worst enemy on the list of names I recom- 
mend." While I wonder why it would occur to anyone to put his worst 
enemy on the list, I am inclined to agree that the scholastic ought not 
nominate his best friend. A superior might find it surprising to find such a 
friend's name omitted from the list of suggested informants, yet ethically it 
is hard to see why a man should propose his closest peer to inform on him. 
The information funneling in to the superior from a variety of sources is not 
vitiated by the lack of what the best friend could add, but the relationship of 
friendship is jeopardized when the privileged knowledge acquired therein is 
revealed for extraneous purposes. 

This question of dealing with the revelations of a close friend helps 
us, we may hope, to recognize that the need for information cannot always 
trump other needs in the Society. Moreover, it should remind us that the 
concern for protecting self-disclosed information is not a simplistic endorse- 
ment of the standards of professional ethics. The reason for concern about 
blurring the lines, for instance, between novice master and spiritual director 
is not primarily that it violates standard contemporary professional canons, 
but that it impinges upon the distinctive needs of the Society and its mem- 
bers. On the one hand, we need to have a superior who leads and decides; 
on the other, we need to have a spiritual director who is someone other 
than the superior. I am convinced that when we shut our minds to ethical 
insights, we inevitably undermine our own long-range purposes. 

Still, some readers might wonder whether I am throwing up unnec- 
essary barriers. They may suspect that these ethical claims unnecessarily 
constrict the flow of information necessary for the superior to exercise good 
judgment. Certainly, the Constitutions first recognized the reliable supply of 
information as necessary for sound judgment. But other goods are also at 
stake, goods that are particularly vital to the scholastic, like the ability to 
confess his sins freely, to receive good confidential spiritual direction, and to 
confide in close friends. 

Unfortunately, our mission often deludes us into thinking that 
ministerial effectiveness offsets the claims urged on us by other goods. To 
the extent that we accept this premise, we shut our minds to a real ethical 
conflict between the Society's own needs and the scholastic's. 

Alasdair Maclntyre notes in his famous work After Virtue that only 
in the modern era does the question of conflict between "goods" arise. 
Previously we believed that an evident good should always be protected; 

18 * James F. Keenan, SJ. 

now we recognize that two or more goods might be in competition in our 
lives, giving rise to the tensions typical of the modern world. 9 

Thus the conflict between the individual need to have confidences 
respected and the communal need to assess a candidate seems to me to focus 
on the type of information being provided. Self-disclosed information, as the 
new Norms observe, ought to be privileged against the Society's need for 
information. Is this an absolute? Certainly not always. Whereas it seems that 
the confessor, the spiritual director, and the friend should protect all confi- 
dences, still there may be some exceptional instances where especially the 
friend might need to release some information about another who made the 
self-disclosure. Here we appeal to the parallels in medical ethics where some 
confidences are in rare, urgent moments to be betrayed. But these instances 
are extraordinary and involve evident threats to the common good. 10 

Moreover, if the self-disclosing information concerns possible harm, 
the information should not be released through informationes. A confidant 
should release self-disclosed information to the superior only in extraordi- 
nary, urgent circumstances where the person is a threat to himself or to 
others. If the confidant is certain that there is nothing that he can do within 
the purview of the confidential relationship, he ought to approach the 
superior as soon as the threat is evident. To be sure, in times of manifest 
threat there is no need to divulge such information to anyone other than the 

While self-disclosing information ought to be protected, information 
regarding things observed should be conveyed through the informatio. These 
forms of information are quite distinct from hearsay, which is based on what 
a third party claims to have observed. 

Hearsay is unworthy information. In fact, it is by nature detrimen- 
tal to both the process and to the scholastic because it is usually communi- 
cated when the one being discussed is absent. Yet, hearsay routinely makes 
its way into informationes, usually while the writer is commenting about a 

9 Alasdair Maclntyre, After Virtue (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame 
Press, 1981), 190-209. For discussion on the centrality of conflict in modern ethical 
thought, see such diverse writers as Tom Beauchamp and James Childress, Principles of 
Biomedical Ethics, 211; William Frankena, Ethics, 2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: 
Prentice-Hall, 1973), 52; Stanley Hauerwas, A Community of Character (Notre Dame: 
University of Notre Dame Press, 1981), 144; Paul Ricoeur, "Love and Justice," in Radical 
Pluralism and Truth: David Tracy and the Hermeneutics of Religion, ed. Werner G. 
Jeanrond and Jennifer L. Rike (New York: Crossroad, 1991), 187-202; William Spohn, 
"The Return of Virtue Ethics," Theological Studies 53 (1992): 60-75. 

10 Tarasoff being the classic case; see note 7 above. 

Are Informationes Ethical? •!• 19 

person's "reputation." The juxtaposition of reputation and hearsay is ironic, 
because hearsay usually detracts from the person's reputation. ("John has a 
reputation for talking about others" ought to strike us as a mighty compro- 
mising remark!) 

Hearsay is only a secondhand observation. Thus, the informant 
cannot responsibly attest to any information that he gained through hearsay, 
and so he lacks the accountability that the Norms demand. 

Like hearsay, unsolicited information is also usually detrimental to 
both the process and the scholastic. While the superior may occasionally 
receive unsolicited material, he should neither regard that material as an 
informatio nor allow it to enter into the consultative circle. As is the case 
with self-disclosing information, an informant should direct any unsolicited 
material to the superior alone. 

Moreover, in the new Norms we read, "Ours should neither seek to 
have externs intercede for them with superiors nor allow this to happen in 
any instance" (no. 156). Presumably this admonition ought to work both 
ways; that is, just as the scholastic ought not to network with externs in 
order to influence the superior, superiors should resist any extern's attempts 
to influence them when they have not solicited this assistance. Thus, the 
ethical conduct of all protects the fraternity of the Society. 

What Is the Purpose of the Informatio? 

While the reply to this question may seem self-evident to some, I 
find two very different interpretations of the purpose of an informatio. The 
Jesuit documents clearly see them as instruments for helping the superior to 
know a member better so that he can both assist him to progress spiritually 
and appoint him to suitable ministries within the Society. In practice, 
however, they are the key instruments used to determine whether a scholas- 
tic should proceed to the next phase of his formation. This distinction 
between their informing and approving roles makes the informationes very 
problematic instruments. 

For centuries we have viewed the importance of gathering informa- 
tion in terms of the superior's needs. But when we look at the issue from 
the perspective of the scholastic, we see that this confusion of objectives can 
lead to unsettling difficulties. Many scholastics regard the informatio process 
as aimed first and foremost at approval rather than knowledge. Their 
fundamental concerns are not whether they will be understood but whether 
they will be approved. 

I do not wish either to overstate this issue or to minimize it. I am 
not suggesting that the majority of our scholastics are fearful that they won't 

20 * James F. Keenan, S.J. 

be approved; rather, their ultimate hopes are that the process will allow 
them to say that they have been "approved" for studying theology, they 
have been "approved" for ordination, they have been "approved" for final 
vows. A glance at the informatio itself will demonstrate that their concerns 
are realistic. The last question on the informatio for ordination asks, "Fi- 
nally, please express your judgment by checking one or more of the follow- 
ing statements." Seven statements follow regarding approval— one positive, 
the six others shading off from reservations to deferral and finally to dis- 

Moreover, as I noted above, no Jesuit document requires superiors 
to share any of this information with the scholastic. While many individual 
superiors, formation assistants, and provincials do provide oral and/or 
written information to the scholastic, still, as I pointed out in the beginning, 
these practices have not been discussed, formalized, or standardized either 
within or across province boundaries. Moreover, some, though certainly not 
a majority of Jesuits, tell the story that at the end of an informatio process 
they received no more than a letter congratulating them on being "ap- 
proved." Since there is no policy in any of our ten provinces or in any Jesuit 
document specifying the type of information that the scholastic is to receive, 
it follows that the only information he is guaranteed to receive is whether 
he is approved, delayed, or rejected. 

If the end of the informatio process is not primarily understanding 
but judging, then both the scholastic and the informants approach it not 
simply as a means of gathering information but also as a test to determine 
another's future. Thus an informant, aware that his friend, classmate, 
associate, or companion is up for evaluation, often writes in ways that 
"protect" the scholastic and ensure his approval. The informant is prone to 
report not what he observes that might reflect unfavorably upon his fellow 
religious but rather what he thinks will expedite his petition, all because of 
the unclear purpose of the process. Here as elsewhere, observing ethical 
canons and ensuring that our policies have explicit purposes benefit rather 
than hinder the Society. 

Furthermore, the scholastic is repeatedly and routinely subjected to 
an approval process in which the informationes play a key part. At each 
juncture in his formation, the scholastic is once again reviewed by peers and 
others. As his superior gathers information about him, the scholastic once 
again is left suspended in uncertainty. Living thus from crisis to crisis, as it 
were, powerfully affects the scholastic and distorts his attitude toward the 
informatio, rendering the formation program more a set of hurdles to be 
surmounted somehow than a natural process of spiritual development and 

Are Informationes Ethical? •$• 21 

A further problem looms when we incorporate the possibility of 
dismissal into the informatio process. Certainly in the majority of petitions 
for regency, theology, ordination, tertianship, or final vows, dismissal of the 
scholastic is rarely an issue. Why, then, do we systematically and routinely 
take it into account in this process? 

Our present systematic consideration of dismissal clashes with the 
Constitutions. There we read, "No matter how advanced the incorporation 
may be, in some cases anyone can and should be separated from the Soci- 
ety." But Ignatius adds, "The more fully one has been incorporated into the 
Society, the more serious the reasons ought to be" ([204]). Is that seriousness 
in evidence when an informant can simply check a space that says, "I think 
he is suited for the priesthood, but not in the Society," or, "I think it would 
be a grave mistake to ordain this man"? 

Imagine, for instance, a high school in which every year administra- 
tors, as part of their evaluation of each student, deliberate whether or not to 
expel him or her. In a high school one basically expects the students to 
progress; evaluation of the students' work is important in monitoring and 
assisting them, but it does not routinely assume that it may terminate in 
dismissal. Thus, after looking at their report cards, the students do not 
usually exclaim, "I wasn't expelled this year!" Instead, they comment about 
their areas of work: "I'm doing well in math and science, weak in English 
and art, average in history and languages." When topics like dismissal, 
deferral, or approval are not emphasized, more user-friendly information 
asserts its proper role. 

Finally, because of the routinization of information gathering, local 
superiors and provincials who are convinced that a certain man should be 
dismissed often wait for the next triennial informatio process to roll around. 
By using the informatio as part of a single scholastic's dismissal process, the 
provincial or local superior incorporates the possibility of dismissal into 
every other scholastic's development, thus tainting the formation process. If 
a provincial thinks he should dismiss a man, then he should begin the 
process according to the Constitutions and the Complementary Norms. By 
keeping a dismissal investigation separate from the routine informationes, the 
Society heeds the Constitutions' warning that we should not be excessively 
ready to dismiss ([204]). 

Thus the ethical insistence on stated purposes is helpful here. As we 
observed above, assigning to the informationes an evaluating function 
compromises their original purpose— to provide the provincial with better 
knowledge of the scholastic so that he can guide him to greater spiritual 
progress, and also to enable the provincial to assign the scholastic where he 
can best serve the mission of the Society. Yet, in our practices the "ap- 

22 * James F. Keenan, S.J. 

proval" purpose too frequently comes to the fore. As one scholastic said to 
me, "Basically the informatio process is a thumbs-up or thumbs-down issue." 

Proposing Reforms 

I make these suggestions for reforms simply to initiate discussion, 
not to resolve problems. Though they formally address the Jesuit Confer- 
ence, these fourteen proposals for reform are intended primarily to engage 
the readers of STUDIES and to prompt discussions in local communities. For 
this reason they are specific and concrete. The Jesuit Conference will, one 
hopes, consider them and in turn will ask other Jesuits to express their own 
insights and judgments. 

1. The Jesuit Conference ought to solicit from individual provinces 
their reflections on the ethics of the informatio process; moreover, it 
should constitute an ad hoc committee to articulate basic guidelines 
regarding the use of informationes. In order to reform the use of informa- 
tiones, the Jesuit Conference ought to engage persons of diverse competen- 
cies to enrich their reflections on this issue— scholastics, spiritual directors, 
superiors, ethicists, and canonists. The conference should also familiarize 
itself with the procedures followed in other assistancies and observe how 
others employ these instruments more positively. Finally, even though the 
provincial and not the formation assistant usually issues the invitation (and 
informationes) for final vows, the Jesuit Conference ought also to articulate 
guidelines for this informatio gathering as well. 

2. The conference ought to distinguish an informatio for approval 
from one for simple information gathering. Certainly there are only two 
times when the informationes should be used for approval— ordination and 
final vows. At no other time, aside from first vows, is the scholastic applying 
for a publicly recognized status. Inasmuch as ordination is an ecclesial 
appointment, the Society must be able to testify to the Church that the man 
is known and approved. Likewise, the general should have an adequate 
knowledge of the scholastic in order to invite him to take final vows. 

Whether the informatio ought to remain the main instrument for 
exploring with the scholastic a decision about priesthood and about final 
vows is, I think, arguable. In the case of final vows, one wonders what more 
information the Society needs on a man who has lived in the Society for 
fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years. Is such a formal institutional instru- 
ment really an appropriate way of judging whether a man is worthy of final 
vows? Likewise, there is something strangely incongruous about a formation . 
program that claims to accompany the man through the process of forma- 
tion and then on the eve of his ordination submits four to six standard 

Are Informationes Ethical? 4* 23 

questionnaires that conclude with check boxes about his suitability for 
priesthood. The entire personal approach is completely at variance with such 
a procedure. 

If the Jesuit Conference insists, however, that the informationes are 
needed for those two stages, it is hard to see why at any other time the 
informationes ought to be used as instruments of approval or deferral. 
Rather, they should be used to assist both the superior to know the scholas- 
tic better and the scholastic to learn how others perceive him. Therefore, 
evaluative judgments ought to be omitted from any informatio not pertain- 
ing to ordination or final vows. 

3. There should be fewer periods of information gathering. The 

present practice of information gathering is clearly excessive. It is a common- 
place today that when a scholastic is ready to move to the next stage, the 
extensive informatio process shifts into gear once again. Our tendency to put 
the scholastic through this routine scrutiny stems in part from our own 
cultural bias toward documentation. Having so many people now responsi- 
ble for various stages of his formation further exacerbates the situation: the 
director of the philosophate wants to reach closure on the man before 
"approving" him for regency; the local superior wants to reach closure on 
the regent before sending him to theology; the provincial wants to reach 
closure on the scholastic before sending him to another province for tertian- 
ship. But why should an impersonal instrument be used for achieving this 
closure? If definite accountability is called for at two stages (ordination and 
final vows), why do we have to mimic that at other phases? 

We need to ask, then, whether— and, if so, when— a provincial and a 
scholastic would benefit from an informatio process designed solely to 
facilitate spiritual progress and incorporation into the Society's mission. If 
there is need for a nonapproval-oriented informatio, then the Jesuit confer- 
ence ought to establish a single process across the ten provinces and curb 
other attempts to generate similar processes. 

4. The Jesuit Conference needs to decide whether the period at the 
end of regency or at the end of theology is the appropriate time for an 
evaluative informatio for ordination. Two important evaluative scrutinies 
occur for scholastics applying for ordination. The formation assistant or the 
provincial generally conducts an information gathering at the end of every 
scholastic's regency. This seems to be a fairly definitive assessment of the 
scholastic, which includes, if he is not a brother, his suitability for ordina- 
tion. At the end of the process, the approved scholastic is missioned to 
theology. But then, in his third year, a similar scrutiny for those seeking 
ordination is begun by the local superior. 

24 * James F. Keenan, S.J. 

There is no need for two such important evaluative informationes. 
Either one can serve as the definitive evaluation. Some have suggested that 
the end of regency is preferable: coming at the end of a fairly extroverted 
period of activity, the scholastic has more clearly demonstrated his ability to 
work with and for others. Moreover, the Jesuit charism is directed toward 
apostolic work, and it is generally during regency and not during studies that 
a scholastic's more creative and life-giving energies are evident. Furthermore, 
an approval at the end of regency could give the scholastic a sense of the 
province's confidence in his own ministerial future. Finally, in terms of the 
scholastic's theological formation, a provincial would only need to know 
that the scholastic successfully completed the requirements for the M.Div. 

On the other hand, the emphasis given to an evaluative informatio 
at the end of regency seems to be another American anomaly. Other prov- 
inces outside the United States have the ordination evaluation at the end of 
theology. Perhaps this anomaly resulted from the provincials' surrendering 
the informatio process at the end of theology to the theologate's rector. 
Thus, in order to gain some evaluative knowledge about the scholastic, the 
provincials created the regency informatio. If the informatio process for the 
end of theology was initiated from the provincial's office rather than the 
theologate rector's office, then the provincial could do an evaluation that 
included the full spectrum of the man's development— novitiate, philosophy, 
studies, regency, and theology. 

5. In any event, the informationes for ordination ought to be 
initiated by the provincial. The present practice leaves the provincial in the 
dark about the informants and the local consultors and gives too much 
authority in the approval process to men in similar situations at the particu- 
lar theologate. Inasmuch as the provincial presents a man to the bishop for 
ordination, the Jesuit Conference should once again designate the provincial 
as ultimately responsible for approving the scholastic for ordination. If the 
conference should decide to retain the ordination evaluation at the end of 
the theological preparation, there is no reason why the provincial should not 
be the one who asks for informationes from those who are in theology as 
well as others who are in the scholastic's province. As the Practica notes, the 
theologate rector and his consultors must also send their own assessment on 
the scholastic to the provincial. 

6. Scholastics awaiting or petitioning ordination ought not see or 
review fellow scholastics' informationes nor should they ever be invited 
to vote on or determine in any consultative way another's ordination 
petition. The Society, in the United States and elsewhere, has rightly 
incorporated scholastics into the consultative process both at the local and 
provincial level. Nonetheless, that incorporation ought to observe the fairly 

Are Informationes Ethical? •!• 25 

universal practice of excluding any person whose own roles could seriously 
conflict with their judgment. In the area of promotion and advancement, 
this generally means that anyone who will eventually apply for a position, 
even a noncompetitive one, ought not pass on another's petition. 

7. The scholastic should be given a written summation of the 
informationes every time they are used. We have seen that information 
gathering exists for the dual purposes of aiding a scholastic in his growth and 
of assisting the provincial to assign a man to the greatest advantage. But, as 
we have also seen, no international or provincial document ever written 
instructs those gathering information to share it with the scholastic. 

Ironically, however, we have also seen that in the case of some 
informationes, such as those prepared at ordination time, as many as twen- 
ty© people may actually read them. Yet, the only determinant of what 
information the scholastic should receive is found in the Practica quczdam's 
cover letter sent to the informant by the superior: "Finally, I ask that you 
keep in strictest confidence the contents of this evaluation, not communicat- 
ing to candidates that you have or have not received a request to evaluate 
their suitability for Orders." In the gathering of information, the one most 
isolated from the information gained is the scholastic. 

Some provincials and superiors have already begun a process of 
orally conveying to the scholastic the feedback from the informationes. This 
process ought to be institutionalized into a norm. Moreover, in addition to 
the oral report, the scholastic should be given a written, thorough descrip- 
tion of the issues addressed in these informationes. This written report ought 
to represent what the provincial, after his consultation, understands about 
the scholastic and will place in his permanent file. In this way, the degree of 
candor and trust that provincials have been fostering especially during these 
past twenty years can be institutionally protected and promoted. 

Receiving such oral and written reports would begin to reverse the 
long-standing practice of making the information gathering a one-way 
highway and bring the scholastic into the information-gathering circle. These 
new practices would, I believe, also foster the type of fraternal support that 
the information gathering actually was intended to achieve. 

8. The Jesuit Conference ought to allow the scholastic to know the 
names of those who have been asked to inform the provincial. On two 

points the Jesuit informatio process diverges from other petitioning processes 
that require outside letters and comments. Though the scholastic may be 
invited to submit some names as possible informants, the provincial actually 
makes the final selection. Thus, unlike someone requesting letters of recom- 
mendation for positions of employment or education, the scholastic neither 
decides nor even knows who his informants actually are. Giving the provin- 

26 * James F. Keenan, SJ. 

cial the responsibility and freedom to determine the informants is important 
and legitimate, for it assists him to get the information he needs. But the 
anonymity of the process seems to marginalize the scholastic unnecessarily 
from the process, while at the same time promoting, I think, a needless 
atmosphere of secrecy that harms true fraternity and maturity in the Society. 

9. The Jesuit Conference ought to encourage informants to write 
only what they would be willing to tell the scholastic in person. By 

urging the informant to write to the provincial as he would write to the 
scholastic, the Jesuit Conference would impress upon the informant how 
important it is to recognize the scholastic as a "subject" and not as an 
"object of comment." Let me explain. The present practice encourages us to 
form impressions of scholastics. Although, to be sure, these judgments are to 
be fraternal and compassionate, nonetheless, they are judgments. Nowhere 
else are we encouraged to form judgments on other members except, of 
course, on those being considered for office as a major superior. Thus, the 
informationes get us thinking about "them." How can we be encouraged to 
treat the scholastics as individuals like ourselves? I suggest that if we write 
informationes as if we were addressing the scholastic as "you" instead of 
talking about "him," that is, if we wrote to the provincial as if we were 
writing to the scholastic, then we might direct our own way of thinking 
into the type of mature and respectful honesty that writing an informatio 

10. Questions regarding dismissal ought to be distinct from the 
informationes. Even in the instances of ordination and final vows, any 
question of dismissal ought to be eliminated from the informationes. If a 
man should be dismissed, he should be dismissed as early as possible rather 
than later in his formation. But such a process should not be timed to 
coincide with the informationes. Instead, it should unfold in those other 
forums where a provincial becomes familiar with his province members- 
provincial visitations, conferences with local superiors, consultations. This 
shift may empower, in turn, provincials and superiors to deal more directly, 
promptly, and effectively with men who are not appropriately matched with 
the Society. 

11. Informationes ought to contain instructions that specifically 
request "observed" information and not "hearsay" or "self-disclosed" 

12. Informants who submit informationes that give the wrong type 
of information ought to be corrected. As the new Norms stipulate, we 
must be held accountable for what we write. As we train one another in the 
use of these instruments, we should remind ourselves of the serious moral 
significance of describing a brother's character. Some will discover adapting 

Are Informationes Ethical? •!• 27 

to this modification of approach more difficult than will others; the superior 
or provincial will need then to address personally the way some informants 
write up informationes. 

13. The Jesuit Conference ought to consider the significance of 
inviting other religious, priests, seminarians, and lay people to submit 
informationes for the ordination information gathering. Even though, as 
John O'Malley points out in The First Jesuits, we have always ministered to 
lay persons, still we associate with them more closely today than ever 
before, not only in our apostolic work but also in our formation. 11 Because 
we are so involved, because we have much to learn, and because the provin- 
cial attests at the ordination that after inquiry he has found the ordinand fit 
for priesthood for the whole Church, provincials ought to consider whether 
those not in the Society ought to be invited to inform also. 

14. Appreciating that the informatio process prompts in each Jesuit 
the willing disposition to inform the superior, the Jesuit Conference 
should consider whether it could initiate other practices that foster the 
healthy sharing of mature information with one another. On visiting the 
Museum of the Cloisters of New York recently, I sat in the chapter room 
there and imagined a monk kneeling in the center of the room, willingly(?) 
listening to his brother monks as they spelled out his faults. This practice, 
for all the problems it can raise, at least encouraged direct, candid communi- 
cation from one religious to another. Certainly I am against adopting this 
practice; but I think it is worth recalling, because it makes us recognize that 
today we lack any instrument or practice that fosters direct, candid commu- 
nication among one another. Instead, we only have one that encourages us 
to inform the provincial, and we are the poorer for it. 

On this point let me suggest that the Jesuit Conference could enlist 
the aid of others in imagining practices that could promote greater commu- 
nication that is not rigidly one-directional. To promote that type of imagin- 
ing, I close this section with the comments of one scholastic reader of my 
first draft. 

In an ideal world (or perhaps in an adult, mature Society of Jesus), I 
would be proud to support a process of "checking the signposts" along the 
way rather than a cloak-and-dagger process for impersonal "information 
gathering" for final approvals. 

In that ideal process I would love to see a scholastic sitting down for a 
conversation with his rector, his formation assistant, and three or four of 
his peers. In that open, face-to-face conversation (done in the spirit of 

11 Here I am thinking especially of the confraternities; see O'Malley, First Jesuits, 

28 * James F. Keenan, S.J. 

freedom and the context of prayer), they would discuss not only the man's 
"suitability" for approval but also his desires, his questions, his struggles, 
and his dreams. They would, of course, deal openly and honestly with his 
"demons" and dark side as he would see them (perhaps using a written self- 
evaluation as a starting point for the conversation). 

Why is this model of conversation so foreign to us? Why does it seem 
so outrageous or impossible to support? Undoubtedly, there are some who 
say that you would not reach a deep level of true honesty about the 
scholastic's weaknesses and "issues" . . . but I really must disagree. We need 
to put more faith in a man's maturity and self-knowledge: if a man truly 
trusts himself to the Society, he will be honest; ... if he is not honest, 
someone in the room will surely call that to his attention; ... if he is not 
comfortable with the process, then that alone is a red flag about the state of 
his conscience. 


I believe that this essay will generate some necessary discussion 
about the ethics of our institutional practices. Certainly there are recent 
instances of reflecting on the ethics of such practices. I have in mind the 
Thirty-fourth General Congregation's document "Jesuits and the Situation of 
Women in Church and Civil Society," acknowledging our participation in 
the oppression of women. Likewise, there is Edward Beckett's essay in 
JESUIT STUDIES that invited us to consider the slave holding practiced by 
certain U.S. provinces during the nineteenth century. But both instances 
address how we have treated others. In this essay, we have analyzed a 
practice we use within our own membership, in particular, to examine our 
newest members. 

The Society's strongly extroverted spirituality warrants our consid- 
ering apostolic availability and effectiveness hallmarks of the Jesuit vocation. 
But at times, preoccupied with the effectiveness of our service, we may not 
attend to the needs of one another. In an era that began with the generalate 
of Father Pedro Arrupe, Jesuit effectiveness took on a concern for the 
person. This was achieved through our renewed spiritual-direction programs, 
our innovative attempts at promoting the Spiritual Exercises, and our 
continued defense of individual conscience. We came to see that concern for 
the individual did not demand that we sacrifice our concern for the greater 
mission; the two concerns could be compatible. 

If, then, this essay has convinced us that ethically reviewing our 
practices could help us achieve a balance between our concerns for mission 
and for one another, I want to propose by way of conclusion that we need 
to engage in critical ethical reflection on several of our other internal 

Are Informationes Ethical? 4* 29 

practices as well. Again, these are not proposed here so that the Jesuit 
Conference can apply a quick solution. Rather, since these practices engage 
and shape us personally and communally, we need to enter upon a collective 
consideration of the ethical and formative import of them. Let me mention 
four topics for discussion. 

Though the matter cannot be adequately treated here, for the last 
ten years or so the ten provinces of the United States have required all 
candidates applying to the Society to be tested for HIV. 12 This policy, 
perhaps not familiar to many readers, is an extraordinary one inasmuch as 
only religious orders and congregations, the military, and the prison system 
are permitted by U.S. law to test for HIV. While the U.S. Government can 
demand such testing of those in prison and in the military because their civil 
rights are already curtailed, separation of church and state allows religious 
orders to pursue an admissions policy at variance with the practices of every 
other institution in the United States. Not only does our policy bypass 
many ethical and canonical considerations, it also contravenes the USCC 
position expressed in the "The Many Faces of AIDS," which stated that "[w]e 
oppose the use of HIV antibody testing for strictly discriminatory 
purposes." 13 

Our superiors' requiring such testing might prompt us to wonder 
what type of ethical reflection and inquiry they engaged in when they 
mandated protocols not admitted by the standard ethical norms that govern 
society at large. And now ten years later, when dramatic advances have been 
made and people are "living with HIV" and "living with AIDS," what struc- 
ture do our provincials have in place to revisit and possibly revise these 

12 Jack Anderson, "How Healthy Is Healthy Enough? Canon Law Consider- 
ations in Matters of Health and HIV-AIDS Testing Policies," Horizon (Winter, 1993): 8-18; 
R. R. Calvo, "Admission to the Seminary and HIV Testing," Roman Replies and CLS 
Advisory Opinions, 1991 (Washington: Canon Law Society of America, 1991), 72-75; Jon 
Fuller, "HP// AIDS: An Overview," in Clergy and Religious and the AIDS Epidemic (Chicago: 
National Federation of Priests' Councils, 1994), 3-50, esp. 27-29; and id., "HlV-Consider- 
ations for Religious Orders and Dioceses," 57-76, esp. 66-74; R. Gibbons, "Admission to 
the Seminary and HIV Testing," Roman Replies, 76f.; James Keenan, "HIV Testing of 
Seminary and Religious-Order Candidates," Review for Religious 55 (1996): 297-314; Bill 
Kenkelen, "Dilemma for Religious Orders: To Test or Not to Test for AIDS," National 
Catholic Reporter, Sept. 2, 1988. See also Jay O'Connor, "HIV Testing of Applicants," 
James Schexnayder, "HIV/AIDS Policy Department," and Diocese of Oakland HIV Policy 
Committee, "Policy Statement," all in Clergy and Religious and the AIDS Epidemic, 77-82, 
83-86, and 87-93 respectively. 

13 Administrative Board of the USCC, "The Many Faces of AIDS: A Gospel 
Response," Origins 17 (1987): 482-89. 

30 4- James F. Keenan, SJ. 

For several years I have been asking these questions. It is not the 
issue itself that I find perplexing, however, but rather the way brother 
Jesuits respond to the issue. Aside from the comments of scholastics who 
underwent the testing prior to their entrance, I have never detected any 
interest in evaluating the policy. When the issue is raised, Jesuits simply call 
upon their intuitions to justify the policy. They offer such defenses as "We 
require physical exams"; or "We are not an employer, we are a religious 
community"; or "We are a religious institute; no one is required to enter." 
Surely these assertions have some merit, but they ignore other issues. First, a 
HIV test is hardly included in a routine a physical exam. Moreover, HIV 
testing represents a whole new approach to medicine. It does not describe a 
present pathology but rather displays the possibility of a future one. That is, 
HIV testing is akin to DNA testing when used to predict one's future health. 
Now that we are accustomed to HIV testing, will we eventually require DNA 
testing to furnish other health prognostications? Is this the type of screening 
that we want? Second, the prognosis for one who tests positive is strikingly 
different today than it was ten years ago. Third, American society has made 
a powerful argument that one who is HIV positive lives with his condition. 
Does our policy dispute that attitude? Fourth, if one were excluded from 
entrance because he tested positive, why is his condition incompatible with 
our mission? Here we should clearly state our objective in maintaining this 
policy. Is it to satisfy insurance providers, to protect the superior from 
possibly more burdensome health issues, to ensure that a candidate has a 
reasonably long life expectancy, to avoid the embarrassment that could ensue 
if a Jesuit should develop AIDS, or conceivably does some other motivation 
underlie our policy? Articulating the purpose reveals both to those we 
exclude and to ourselves what it is that we are about. 

The testing issue is an ethical one. This does not automatically mean 
that we should not require testing. Rather, it means that we need to criti- 
cally and ethically assess whether we should require testing. This assessment 
will entail three steps: (1) engaging persons of diverse competencies to 
examine all the issues, that is, to review the various positions critically; 
(2) articulating the purposes for the policy; (3) developing a structure for 
critically revisiting this policy at an appropriate time in the future. Until we 
do that, we have not formulated an ethical policy. 

A second practice concerns the interview process to which candi- 
dates applying to the Society are subjected. When, for instance, I asked one 
vocation director his view of the ethical implications of mandatory testing of 
candidates for HIV, he responded simply that the interview process is a 
veritable Pandora's box, containing elements more distressing than requiring 
a test for HIV. His willingness to take for granted such intrusive procedures 

Are Informationes Ethical* -I* 31 

conveys a glaringly inadequate appreciation of the ethical complexities 
involved here. While we certainly have a responsibility to know the appli- 
cants, we cannot arrogate a carte-blanche right of access to the personal 
histories of our candidates. Thus we need to develop guidelines to help 
interviewers distinguish between what is necessary knowledge and what is 
unnecessary intrusion. How will we articulate those guidelines and to whom 
will the vocation directors turn in their attempts to address this issue? 

We have a third practice requiring writers to submit their works for 
judgment as to their suitability for publication. This practice reinforces the 
important awareness that the work of each contributes to the institutional 
service of the entire Society of Jesus. But, as any theologian knows who has 
submitted an essay to his superior for review prior to publication, the entire 
process is sui generis. While not suggesting that the purpose is wrong, as an 
ethicist I ask what ethical standards have been put in place to make sure that 
the grounds for possible censorship are objectively valid? Indeed, have 
superiors entered upon a sustained ethical reflection enabling them to judge 
fairly when censoring another's writing? Have they sat down to discuss how 
one judges, with whom (and how many) one consults, and what type of 
theological argument could justly invoke censorship? Though the new 
Complementary Norms remind us that the "regulations enacted both by the 
common law of the Church and our own Institute with regard to the 
publishing of books should be fairly and exactly put into practice," 14 superi- 
ors still need some sort of vehicle for discussing with one another and with 
theologians, canonists, and ethicists the purposes of these reviews, the 
method to be employed in reviewing, the universal applicability of that 
method, and the type of appeals available to a scholar when confronted with 
an unfavorable judgment. These critical procedures are not designed to put 
Jesuits into confrontational postures. On the contrary, they are designed to 
enlist one another's collaboration and thus promote the work of the Society. 
The widely divergent practices in effect today demonstrate that here as in 
other matters intuition and not open, rigorous critical discussion undergirds 
superiors' decisions regarding the censorship of manuscripts. 

Fourth, there needs to be some sustained ethical reflection about 
superiors accessing material confided to therapists. Joyce Harris has suggested 
that the rules governing confidentiality for members of religious communi- 
ties who undergo therapy ought to be based on the family-therapy model 
and not on the individual-client model. The confidentiality between therapist 

14 Complementary Norms, no. 296. The norm refers the reader to "An Ordina- 
tion on Writings and Other Works Intended for Publication," Acta Romana Societatis Iesu 

32 •*■ James F. Keenan, S.J. 

and client, she argues, ought not to be absolute; the superior ought to be 
made privy to the insights developed during therapy. She writes, "The most 
critical assumption in this paradigm is that both the religious client and the 
community representative are equal participants in the therapeutic relation- 
ship." 15 Obvious deficiencies in the analogy make her proposal untenable: 
The relationship between members and their superiors is neither spousal nor 
familial; moreover, the superior is not himself involved in the therapy. Still 
more important, since confidentiality is extraordinarily problematic in family 
therapy, it cannot serve as a worthy paradigm for determining exceptions to 
the general rule. 

Harris's concerns, however, are similar to those we are expressing in 
this essay. To what extent ought we to protect not only an individual's need 
for confidentiality but also (what is even more important) the institution of 
confidentiality; and to what extent ought we to grant superiors access to 
privileged information so that they can more effectively govern and care for 
their subjects? Interestingly, in an exchange on the same topic between two 
religious women and a Jesuit provincial, the women expressed greater 
concern for confidentiality, whereas the provincial emphasized the responsi- 
bilities and prerogatives of the superior. 16 The participants seems to have 
relied on their own experiences and intuitions when forming their opinions. 
But for those who make and direct communal policies, individual intuition 
and experience is insufficient. What type of broadly based ethical consider- 
ations have superiors taken into account before deciding whether to ap- 
proach a subject's therapist? What universal guidelines do they follow here? 
What are their stated purposes? 

The question of ethically analyzing our own practices toward one 
another is vital to our mission. 17 The Methodist ethicist Stanley Hauerwas 
argues that the function of the Church is not to preach ethics to the world, 
but rather to practice it within its own membership: the challenge of the 
Church is faithfully to embody in its own practices the integrity of the 

15 Joyce Harris, "Therapy for Religious," Review for Religious 51 (1992): 282-88, 
at 285. See my response, "Confidentiality: Erosion and Restoration," Review for Religious 
51 (1992): 882-94. Also see Mary Moore, "Therapist, Client and Superior in Relationship," 
49 (1990): 539-44. 

16 See William Barry, "A Superior's Relationship with a Therapist," Human 
Development 10 (1989): 11-13, and "Letters to the Editor," Human Development 10 (1989): 

17 Other practices that we should ethically examine include our exclusion of 
women from our ranks and the articulation and communication (as the Archdiocese of 
Chicago did) of our policies regarding sexual impropriety. 

Are Informationes Ethical? *fr 33 

Gospel. 18 Its mission, then, is to its members, for to them the Church is to 
be the faithful witness of the message of Jesus. Hauerwas's insistence that we 
are not to minister to the world at large may seem extreme for Catholic 
sensibilities, but he does call us to consider the importance of our own 
internal practices. This essay has been an attempt to get us all to do just that. 

18 See especially the first four essays in his Community of Character. 



Ignatius's Instructions to Canisius, Jay, and Salmeron, 
about to leave for Germany 

Duke Albert V of Bavaria invited the Jesuits to send lecturers to the University of 
Ingolstadt, which had fallen into severe decline. Ignatius wrote the following instruction 
for Peter Canisius, Claude Jay, and Alonso Salmeron, the men sent there. He urged them 
to fulfill the specific mission for which they were called, while at the same time carrying 
out the full range of the Society's ministries. They were to concentrate their efforts on 
persons of influence and likely future ministers, and do all they could to help the faith in 
Germany and promote the founding of a college of the Society in Bavaria. The original 
text of this letter is found in S. Ignatii Epistolae et Instructiones, 12:239-47, vol. 43 of 
Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu. See STUDIES 29, no. 2 (March 1997): 18-21 and 
28f for further details of the circumstances leading to this mission and of how the Jesuits 
there began to carry it .out. This translation is the work of Martin E. Palmer, S.J., and 
John W. Padberg, S.J. 

Helps for Those Departing 

JL he goal to be chiefly kept in sight is 
that intended by the Sovereign Pontiff 
in sending this mission, namely, to help 
the university at Ingolstadt, and, as far 
as possible, Germany itself, in matters 
related to correctness of faith, obedience 
to the Church, and solid, wholesome 
doctrine and life. 

A secondary goal will be to pro- 
mote the affairs of the Society in 
Germany, in particular by endeavoring 
to start colleges of the Society at Ingol- 
stadt and elsewhere, for the common 
good and the glory of God. 

The means for pursuing these 
closely related goals are themselves close- 
ly related; however, some contribute 
equally to both, some more to the first, 
and others more to the second. Hence 
we shall treat them in that order. 

Means Common to the Pursuit 
of Both Goals 

1. The first and most important help 
will be if, placing no confidence in your- 
selves at all, you trust courageously in 
God and have a strong desire, aroused 
and nourished by charity and obedience, 
for achieving your goal; this will ensure 
that you keep your goal always in mind 
and before your eyes, commend it to 
God in your prayers and holy sacrifices, 
and make diligent use of every appropri- 
ate means. 

2. The second is a life that is excel- 
lent in itself and hence a pattern for oth- 
ers. This means avoiding not just evil 
but every appearance of evil, as well as 
showing yourselves models of charity 
and every virtue. This will be of great 
help to Germany, so much in need of 
such models. Moreover, in this way, 
without your saying a word, the Society 




will be promoted and God will fight on 
its behalf. 

3. You should have and display a 
sincere charity towards all, particularly 
persons of greater consequence for the 
common good. Among these is the duke 
himself; you should apologize to him 
for your late arrival and signify to him 
the love in which the Sovereign Pontiff 
and the Holy See holds him, as does the 
Society as well; and you should ear- 
nestly promise to work hard on behalf 
of his subjects, and so forth. 

4. You should display your love in 
word and truth and render good services 
to large numbers of persons, by both 
spiritual assistance and exterior works of 
charity, as indicated below. 

5. People should be able to see that 
you seek not your own interests but 
those of Jesus Christ, that is, his glory 
and the salvation of souls; and that for 
this reason you accept no guaranteed 
regular stipends for Masses or for the 
ministry of the word or sacraments, and 
may possess no revenues. 

6. You should make yourselves be- 
loved by your humility and charity, be- 
coming all things to all men. You 
should adapt to the local customs insofar 
as the Society's religious Institute allows, 
and as far as possible never let anyone 
depart from you unhappy (except for 
their salvation). In your efforts to please, 
however, you should respect your con- 
science and not let excessive familiarity 
breed contempt. 

7. Where factions and party strife 
prevail, you should not take a stand 
against either side, but instead show that 
you remain in the middle and love both 

8. It will help very much if you 
yourselves and the Society as a whole 

enjoy solid authority and a reputation 
(grounded in fact) for sound teaching— 
with everyone, but particularly with the 
prince and notables. This authority will 
be much fostered by outward as well as 
inward gravity in your gait and gestures, 
the propriety of your dress, and espe- 
cially the circumspection of your speech 
and the maturity of your advice on both 
practical and doctrinal matters. This ma- 
turity entails not hastily giving your 
opinion on any question (unless it is 
quite easy), but taking time to think 
about it, or study it, or consult with 

9. You should cultivate bonds of 
goodwill especially with those who exer- 
cise supreme power. It will be of consid- 
erable help in this regard if you are able 
as much as possible to assist both the 
duke himself and the more influential 
members of his household through con- 
fessions and the Spiritual Exercises. You 
should also try to win over the univer- 
sity professors and other dignitaries by 
your deep humility and modesty and by 
rendering them becoming acts of service. 

10. Hence, if you know of anyone, 
especially among the more influential 
persons, who has an unfavorable opin- 
ion of the Society or of yourselves, you 
should take prudent countermeasures, 
supplying the person with information 
about the Society and yourselves, to 
God's glory. 

11. It will be helpful to have a good 
idea of individual persons' ways of act- 
ing and to plan ahead for various contin- 
gencies, especially in more important 

12. It will be advantageous for all the 
companions not only to think and to 
say the same thing but also to dress alike 
and act alike in ceremonies and other 
external matters. 



13. The brethren should individually 
reflect on how best to achieve the above- 
mentioned goals, and confer with each 
other; and the superior, after hearing the 
others, will decide what should or 
should not be done. 

14. They will take care to write to 
Rome either for advice or to report on 
the state of affairs. This should be done 
very frequently, for it could be of more 
than a little help in all matters. 

15. You should occasionally reread 
these and the following guidelines, along 
with any others that may be added, so 
as to refresh your memory of them in 
case it fades. 

Means More Appropriate for the 

Primary Goal— the Upbuilding of 

Germany in Faith and in Christian 

Doctrine and Life 

1. The first thing is to do well in 
your public lectures; it is principally for 
this that the duke requested your ser- 
vices and the Sovereign Pontiff sent you. 
You should give solid doctrine without 
too much scholastic terminology, which 
tends to put people off, particularly 
when abstruse: the lectures should be 
learned but comprehensible. They 
should be regular but not too long or 
too rhetorical. Prudence will dictate 
how much use to make of disputations 
and other academic exercises. 

2. To increase your audience and be 
of most benefit to them, you should not 
only nourish the mind but also add 
things that will nourish the religious 
affections, so that the hearers go home 
from your lectures not just more learned 
but better persons. 

3. In addition to the scholastic lec- 
tures, it would be good to have sermons 
or biblical lectures on feast days. The 
aim of these is less to instruct the intel- 

lect than to move the affections and 
shape behavior. They can be given ei- 
ther in Latin in the schools or in Ger- 
man by Master Canisius in the church 
where crowds of people attend. 

4. So far as these essential occupa- 
tions permit, you should devote time to 
hearing confessions, in which one ordi- 
narily reaps the fruits of the plants that 
have been cultivated in lectures and ser- 
mons. You should hear the confessions 
not so much of women and common 
people (they should be sent to others for 
this purpose) as of young men of good 
character who might themselves become 
pastoral workers, as well as of other per- 
sons who, if given spiritual aid, could 
make a greater contribution to the com- 
mon good. For when we cannot satisfy 
everyone, preference should certainly go 
to those who promise a greater return in 
the Lord. 

5. You should endeavor to draw 
your students to spiritual friendship, and 
if possible to confession and the Spiri- 
tual Exercises; these should be the full 
Exercises for those who appear suited 
for the Society's Institute, while you 
could admit and even invite larger num- 
bers to the Exercises of the First Week, 
along with a method of prayer and so 
on— mainly, however, persons from 
whom a greater good may be expected 
and whose friendship should be sought 
for God's sake. 

6. For the same reason, great impor- 
tance should be given to conversation 
and familiar dealings with persons of 
this sort; and while on occasion you 
may digress to a merely human topic 
because of their individual interests, you 
should return to the goal of their spiri- 
tual improvement lest your conversa- 
tions be useless. 

Sources * 


7. You should also devote some 
time to more visible pious activities- 
hospitals, prisons, or other ways of help- 
ing the poor— which beget a good repu- 
tation in the Lord. 

Such also are the reconciling of 
feuds and the teaching of catechism to 
the uneducated where these are appro- 
priate; prudence will dictate whether, 
depending upon the place and the dispo- 
sition of the people, this should be done 
by yourselves or through others. 

8. You should attempt to win the 
friendship of any leading adversaries and 
of the more influential among those 
who are heretics, or suspected of heresy, 
and are not altogether obdurate. You 
should try to withdraw them from their 
error tactfully and lovingly; some guide- 
lines for this are being written 

9. You should be competent in cases 
of conscience. With particularly difficult 
cases, you should take time, as said 
above, for study or consultation. For, 
while you ought to avoid excessive scru- 
pulosity and anxiety, you should not be 
overly lax, indulgent, or unconcerned 
either, to the peril of your own and oth- 
ers' souls. 

10. You should all try to have at 
your fingertips the matters regarding 
dogmas of faith controverted with the 
heretics, particularly nowadays where 
you will be and among the people you 
deal with, so that, where appropriate, 
you can assert and defend Catholic 
truth, attack errors, and strengthen the 
doubtful or wavering, both in lectures 
or sermons and in confessions or conver- 

11. As to the manner of doing this, 
remember that, adapting yourselves to 
the character and inclinations of persons, 

you should act with prudence and pro- 
portion, not putting new wine into old 
wineskins, and so on. 

12. In defending the Apostolic See 
and its authority and bringing people to 
sincere obedience thereto, be careful that 
you do not, by incautious defenses, lose 
credibility as "papalists." Conversely, 
your zeal in pursuing heresy should evi- 
dence above all love for the heretics' 
persons, desire for their salvation, and 
compassion for them. 

13. It will help to make good use of 
the Society's faculties and of those grant- 
ed by the Sovereign Pontiff; these 
should be employed for building up and 
not for tearing down, generously but 

14. It will help to dispose people as 
far as possible for God's grace by ex- 
horting them to a desire for salvation 
and to prayers, alms, and all kinds of 
charitable works, which contribute to 
the reception and increase of grace. 

15. To help your hearers to grasp, 
retain, and practice what you set before 
them, you should consider whether 
something might be given in writing, 
and to whom. 

16. It is important that, either 
through the duke, or Eck, 1 or other 
friends, a convenient site be selected for 
celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, 
preaching, and being available to people 
who seek you out. 

17. It will help for the priests of the 
Society to confer with each other on 
their studies and sermons, and to cri- 
tique each other's lectures; in this way 
any shortcomings in your lectures can 
be corrected at home, so that they will 

1 Leonhard Eck was a counselor of 
the duke and very devoted to the Society. 

38 * Sources 

be more acceptable and helpful to your 

Means for the Secondary Goal, the 
Society's Promotion in Germany 

lJesides the above measures, which 
would perhaps suffice without recourse 
to any others, a few more specific ones 
will be mentioned here. They come 
down to convincing the duke and other 
influential persons of the desirability and 
feasibility of having schools of the Soci- 
ety in their dominions. 

1. The first is that efforts to found a 
college should not appear to be of our 
own doing; or that they should clearly 
stem from concern for the good of Ger- 
many and in no way from ambition or 
self-seeking on our part. We should 
make it clear that the Society appropri- 
ates to itself from the colleges nothing 
but toil and the exercise of charity, and 
that the college's revenues will be spent 
on the education of poor students, so 
that after their education they can be 
more useful laborers in the vineyard of 

2. When you deal with those who 
might be able to influence the duke of 
Bavaria and the persons around him 
(such as Eck) to found a college, without 
actually mentioning it explicitly, try to 
insinuate this idea into their minds, let- 
ting them gently draw the conclusion 
for themselves. 

3. For this it will help if they have a 
good opinion of the Society's Institute, 
being informed about those aspects of it 
more likely to please them and about 
the progress that by God's grace the So- 
ciety has made in the course of just a 
few years in so many parts of the world. 
This account will be all the more effec- 
tive if the duke has already begun to 

experience some of these results in his 
own dominion. 

4. Show the duke how valuable it 
will be for his own subjects, and indeed 
all of Germany, to have educational in- 
stitutions under the care of men who, 
unmotivated by ambition or avarice, 
will help others by sound teaching and 
the example of their lives. Describe for 
him the experience of the King of Portu- 
gal, who from a single college of the 
Society has provided spiritual workers 
for numerous places in the Indies, Ethio- 
pia, and Africa, even outside his own 

5. Indicate to him how advantageous 
it will be for the university at Ingolstadt 
to have there, as at Messina and Gandia, 
a college where not only theology but 
also languages and philosophy are taught 
with scholastic exercises after the mode 
of Paris. 

6. Show him what a great crown 
awaits him if he is the first to introduce 
into Germany colleges of this sort for 
the advancement of sound doctrine and 
religious practice. 

7. So that he can be convinced of 
the ease of so doing, he should be in- 
formed that colleges of this kind may be 
founded and endowed by allocating the 
income of benefices, abbeys, or other 
pious works that are no longer useful, 
especially given the strong approval of 
the Sovereign Pontiff and the leading 
cardinals for the erection of such col- 

8. If others join the Society's Insti- 
tute and increase the body of men living 
there at the duke's expense, this might 
make it easier to induce him, in order to 
be free of this burden and the teachers' 
salaries, to take steps for getting the col- 
lege a perpetual endowment. 



9. Many of these matters could be 
more conveniently and fittingly handled 
by persons having influence with the 
duke, such as Eck and others of the 
duke's friends, especially important per- 
sons such as the cardinals, who can 
write to the duke about the Pope's 
mind. All this will be more effective if 
early results of our work have begun to 
justify [our appealing for the duke's sup- 

10. If the duke or others seem in- 
clined to want the colleges to be more 
open and even to have others besides 
religious living in them, they should be 
told that the college can include both 
religious and others so long as the ad- 
ministration remains in the hands of 
those who by their teaching and exam- 
ple can bring others to advance in both 
studies and religion. 

11. Investigate also whether there 
may not be private persons of greater 
income or property who are being 
moved by God to initiate the college. 
Steps should be taken to interest these 
persons and other important personages 
in this, for the common good of Ger- 

12. Besides the colleges, the Society's 
cause can be promoted by attracting 
young men (and older ones, if educated) 
to its Institute. This can be done by the 
example of your lives, by cultivating 
acquaintances through the Exercises and 
spiritual conversations, and by other 
means discussed elsewhere. If such per- 
sons cannot be supported there or 
would be better off not remaining there, 
they should be sent to Rome or other 
places in the Society. Similarly, we can, 
if necessary, transfer men from other 
places— Cologne or Louvain, for exam- 
ple—to Ingolstadt. 

Martin E. Palmer, SJ. 

On Giving the Spiritual Exercises 

The Early Jesuit Manuscript Directories 

and the Official Directory of 1599 

Granted that the basic manual for giving the Spiritual Exercises of 
St. Ignatius was always the book of the Exercises itself, Ignatius, his 
associates, and their successors all realized that on many points fuller 
explanation was needed. This need they met with the Directories 
translated by Fr. Palmer in this book. 

It gives us all the supplementary guidelines for giving the Exercises 
which derive from St. Ignatius and other 16th-century Jesuits. Much 
of the material survived only in manuscript form until the last century, 
and appears here in English for the first time. The documents range 
from a simple page of notes by St. Peter Canisius to a full-scale 
handbook by Ignatius's Secretary and long-time collaborator, 
Juan de Polanco. The book concludes with a fresh translation of the 
comprehensive Directory to the Spiritual Exercises published for the 
use of Jesuits in 1599, which served for over three centuries as the 
official guidebook to giving the Exercises. 

For those involved with today's rapid growth in individually directed 
Ignatian retreats, these texts offer unparalleled insight into the original 
practice of the Exercises under St. Ignatius and his associates. 
Spiritual directors, retreat directors, and students of the Spiritual 
Exercises as well as of religious thought in general will not want to be 
without this book. 

Cloth: ISBN 1-880810-17-4 #$42.95 

Paper: ISBN 1-880810-18-2 ♦ $34.95 

Series I, n.14 ♦ 1996 ♦ PP. ca 380+ 

Philip Caraman, S.J. 

A Study in Friendship: 

St. Robert Southwell and Henry Garnet 

This character study attempts to enter into the mind 
and heart of a brilliant, attractive, and astonishingly 
brave young Elizabethan Jesuit, Robert Southwell, 
who was also a poet, a master of prose, and a 
martyr. He had a remarkable capacity for 
friendship, a subject on which he dwelt in his verse, 
his prose works, his meditations, and his letters. 
Among his dearest friends was Henry Garnet, a 
fellow Jesuit. Together they shared mortal dangers 
and a common ideal of religious commitment, both 
often described and expressed in their letters. 
Southwell's poems form a considerable part of this 
book, and they are often set in the framework of 
Garnet's letters, many of which were written to 
Claudio Aquaviva, superior general of the Jesuits and also 
a friend of them both. Robert Southwell's mother had been 
a playmate of Queen Elizabeth I; Sir Robert Cecil was his 
cousin. Yet as an English Jesuit priest he suffered torture for 
three years and in 1595, four hundred years ago, he was 
hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. A few years later, 
in 1606, in St. Paul's Churchyard in London, Garnet suffered 
the same fate for the same commitment. 

The book will be of interest to anyone who appreciates the 
joys of friendship and especially to historians (particularly 
those of Elizabethan England), students of English literature, 
religious sociologists, and historians and theoreticians of the 
religious life. 

Paper: ISBN 1-880810-15-8 ♦ $14.95 
Series IV, n.16 ♦ 1995 ♦ PP. xii + 124 

Past Issues: Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 

(For prices, see inside back cover.) 

1/1 Sheets, Profile of the Contemporary Jesuit (Sept. 1969) 

1/2 Ganss, Authentic Spiritual Exercises: History and Terminology (Nov. 1969) 

2/1 Burke, Institution and Person (Feb. 1970) 

2/2 Futrell, Ignatian Discernment (Apr. 1970) 

2/3 Lonergan, Response of the Jesuit as Priest and Apostle (Sept. 1970) 

3/1 Wright, Grace of Our Founder and the Grace of Our Vocation (Feb. 1971) 

3/2 O'Flaherty, Some Reflections on Jesuit Commitment (Apr. 1971) 

3/3 Clarke, Jesuit Commitment— Fraternal Covenant? Haughey, Another Perspective on Religious 

Commitment (June 1971)— OUT OF PRINT 
3/4 Toner, A Method for Communal Discernment of God's Will (Sept. 1971) 
3/5 Sheets, Toward a Theology of the Religious Life (Nov. 1971) 
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4/2 Two Discussions: I. Spiritual Direction, II. Leadership and Authority (Mar. 1972) 
4/3 Orsy, Some Questions about the Purpose and Scope of the General Congregation (June 1972) 
4/4 Ganss, Wright, O'Malley, O'Donovan, Dulles, On Continuity and Change: A Symposium 

(Oct. 1972) 
4/5 Futrell, Communal Discernment: Reflections on Experience (Nov. 1972)— OUT OF PRINT 
5/1-2 O'Flaherty, Renewal: Call and Response (Jan.-Mar. 1973) 
5/3 Arrupe, McNaspy, The Place of Art in Jesuit Life (Apr. 1973) 
5/4 Haughey, The Pentecostal Thing and Jesuits (June 1973) 

5/5 Orsy, Toward a Theological Evaluation of Communal Discernment (Oct. 1973) 
6/1-2 Padberg, The General Congregations of the Society of Jesus: A Brief Survey of Their History 

(Jan.-Mar. 1974)— OUT OF PRINT 
6/3 Knight, Joy and Judgment in Religious Obedience (Apr. 1974) 
6/4 Toner, The Deliberation That Started the Jesuits (June 1974)— OUT OF PRINT 
6/5 Schmitt, The Christ-Experience and Relationship Fostered in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius 

of Loyola (Oct. 1974)— OUT OF PRINT 
7/1 Wright, Ganss, Orsy, On Thinking with the Church Today (Jan. 1975) 
7/2 Ganss, Christian Life Communities from the Sodalities (Mar. 1975) 
7/3 Connolly, Contemporary Spiritual Direction: Scope and Principles (June 1975) 
7/4 Clarke, Ignatian Spirituality and Societal Consciousness; Orsy, Faith and Justice: Some 

Reflections (Sept. 1975)— OUT OF PRINT 
7/5 Buckley, The Confirmation of a Promise; Padberg, Continuity and Change in General 

Congregation XXXII (Nov. 1975) 
8/1 O'Neill, Acatamiento: Ignatian Reverence (Jan. 1976) 
8/2-3 De la Costa, Sheridan, and others, On Becoming Poor: A Symposium on Evangelical Poverty 

(Mar.-May 1976) 
8/4 Faricy, Jesuit Community: Community of Prayer (Oct. 1976) 

8/5 Buckley, Jesuit Priesthood: Its Meaning and Commitments (Dec. 1976)— OUT OF PRINT 
9/1-2 Becker, Changes in U.S. Jesuit Membership, 1958-75; Others, Reactions and Explanations 

(Jan.-Mar. 1977) 
9/3 Harvanek, The Reluctance to Admit Sin (May 1977)— OUT OF PRINT 
9/4 Connolly, Land, Jesuit Spiritualities and the Struggle for Social Justice (Sept. 1977). 
9/5 Gill, A Jesuit's Account of Conscience (Nov. 1977) 

10/1 Kammer, "Burn-Out"— Dilemma for the Jesuit Social Activist (Jan. 1978) 
10/2-3 Barry, Birmingham, Connolly, Fahey, Finn, Gill, Affectivity and Sexuality (Mar.-May 1978)— 

Out of Print 

10/4 Harvanek, Status of Obedience in the Society of Jesus; Others, Reactions to Connolly-Land 

(Sept. 1978) 

10/5 Padberg, Personal Experience and the Spiritual Exercises: The Example of Saint Ignatius (Nov. 

1978)— Out of Print 

11/1 Clancy, Feeling Bad about Feeling Good (Jan. 1979) 

11/2 Maruca, Our Personal Witness as Power to Evangelize Culture (Mar. 1979) 

11/3 Klein, American Jesuits and the Liturgy (May 1979) 

11/4 Buckley, Mission in Companionship (Sept. 1979)— OUT OF PRINT 

11/5 Conwell, The Kamikaze Factor: Choosing Jesuit Ministries (Nov. 1979) 

12/1 Clancy, Veteran Witnesses: Their Experience of Jesuit Life (Jan. 1980)— OUT OF PRINT 

12/2 Henriot, Appleyard, Klein, Living Together in Mission: A Symposium on Small Apostolic 

Communities (Mar. 1980) 

12/3 Conwell, Living and Dying in the Society of Jesus (May 1980) 

12/4-5 Schineller, Newer Approaches to Christology and Their Use in the Spiritual Exercises (Sept. -Nov. 


13/1 Peter, Alcoholism in Jesuit Life (Jan. 1981) 

13/2 Begheyn, A Bibliography on St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises (Mar. 1981)— OUT OF PRINT 

13/3 Ganss, Towards Understanding the Jesuit Brothers' Vocation (May 1981) 

13/4 Reites, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jews (Sept. 1981) 

13/5 O'Brien, The Jesuits and Catholic Higher Education (Nov. 1981)— OUT OF PRINT 

14/1 O'Malley, The Jesuits, St. Ignatius, and the Counter Reformation (Jan. 1982) 

14/2 Dulles, St. Ignatius and Jesuit Theological Tradition (Mar. 1982) 

14/3 Robb, Conversion as a Human Experience (May 1982)— OUT OF PRINT 

14/4 Gray, An Experience in Ignatian Government (Sept. 1982) 

14/5 Ivern, The Future of Faith and Justice: Review of Decree Four (Nov. 1982) 

15/1 O'Malley, The Fourth Vow in Its Ignatian Context (Jan. 1983) 

15/2 Sullivan and Faricy, On Making the Spiritual Exercises for Renewal of Jesuit Charisms (Mar. 


15/3-4 Padberg, The Society True to Itself: A Brief History of the 32nd General Congregation of the 

Society of Jesus (May-Sept. 1983) 

15/5-16/1 Tetlow, Jesuits' Mission in Higher Education (Nov. 1983-Jan. 1984) 

16/2 O'Malley, To Travel to Any Part of the World: Jeronimo Nadal and the Jesuit Vocation (Mar. 


16/3 O'Hanlon, Integration of Christian Practices: A Western Christian Looks East (May 1984) 

16/4 Carlson, "A Faith Lived Out of Doors": Ongoing Formation (Sept. 1984) 

16/5 Kinerk, Eliciting Great Desires: Their Place in the Spirituality of the Society of Jesus (Nov. 1984) 

17/1 Spohn, St. Paul on Apostolic Celibacy and the Body of Christ (Jan. 1985) 

17/2 Daley, "In Ten Thousand Places": Christian Universality and the Jesuit Mission (Mar. 1985) 

17/3 Tetlow, Dialogue on the Sexual Maturing of Celibates (May 1985) 

17/4 Spohn, Coleman, Clarke, Henriot, Jesuits and Peacemaking (Sept. 1985) 

17/5 Kinerk, When Jesuits Pray: A Perspective on the Prayer of Apostolic Persons (Nov. 1985) 

18/1 Gelpi, The Converting Jesuit (Jan. 1986). 

18/2 Beirne, Compass and Catalyst: The Ministry of Administration. (Mar. 1986) 

18/3 McCormick, Bishops as Teachers and Jesuits as Listeners (May 1986) 

18/4 McDermott, With Him, In Him: Graces of the Spiritual Exercises (Sept. 1986)— OUT OF PRINT 

18/5 Tetlow, The Transformation of Jesuit Poverty (Nov. 1986). 

19/1 Staudenmaier, United States Technology and Adult Commitment (Jan. 1987) 

19/2 Appleyard, Languages We Use: Talking about Religious Experience (Mar. 1987) 

19/3 Harmless and Gelpi, Priesthood Today and the Jesuit Vocation (May 1987) 

19/4 Haight, Foundational Issues in Jesuit Spirituality (Sept. 1987)— OUT OF PRINT 

19/5 Endean, Who Do You Say Ignatius Is? Jesuit Fundamentalism and Beyond (Nov. 1987) 

20/1 Brackley, Downward Mobility: Social Implications of St. Ignatius's Two Standards (Jan. 1988) 

20/2 Padberg, How We Live Where We Live (Mar. 1988) 

20/3 Hayes, Padberg, Staudenmaier, Symbols, Devotions, and Jesuits (May 1988) 

20/4 McGovern, Jesuit Education and Jesuit Spirituality (Sept. 1988) 

20/5 Barry, Jesuit Formation Today: An Invitation to Dialogue and Involvement (Nov. 1988) 

21/1 Wilson, Where Do We Belong? United States Jesuits and Their Memberships (Jan. 1989) 

21/2 Demoustier, Calvez, et al., The Disturbing Subject: The Option for the Poor (Mar. 1989) 

21/3 Soukup, Jesuit Response to the Communication Revolution (May 1989) 

21/4 Tetlow, The Fundamentum: Creation in the Principle and Foundation (Sept. 1989) 

21/5 Past and Present Seminar Members, Jesuits Praying: Personal Reflections (Nov. 1989)— OUT OF 


22/1 Carroll, The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (Jan. 1990) 

22/2 Bracken, Jesuit Spirituality from a Process Prospective (March 1990) 

22/3 Shepherd, Fire for a Weekend: An Experience of the Exercises (May 1990) 

22/4 O'Sullivan, Trust Your Feelings, but Use Your Head (Sept. 1990) 

22/5 Coleman, A Company of Critics: Jesuits and the Intellectual Life (Nov. 1990) 

23/1 Houdek, The Road Too Often Traveled (Jan. 1991) 

23/2 DiGiacomo, Ministering to the Young (March 1991) 

23/3 Begheyn and Bogart, A Bibliography on St. Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises (May 1991) 

23/4 Shelton, Reflections on the Mental Health of Jesuits (Sept. 1991) 

23/5 Toolan, "Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire" (Nov. 1991) 

24/1 Houdek, Jesuit Prayer and Jesuit Ministry: Context and Possibilities (Jan. 1992) 

24/2 Smolich, Testing the Water: Jesuits Accompanying the Poor (March 1992) 

24/3 Hassel, Jesus Christ Changing Yesterday, Today, and Forever (May 1992) 

24/4 Shelton, Toward Healthy Jesuit Community Living (Sept. 1992) 

24/5 Cook, Jesus' Parables and the Faith That Does Justice (Nov. 1992) 

25/1 Clancy, Saint Ignatius as Fund-Raiser (Jan. 1993)— OUT OF PRINT 

25/2 Donahue, What Does the Lord Require? (March 1993)— ONCE AGAIN AVAILABLE 

25/3 Padberg, Ignatius, the Popes, and Realistic Reverence (May 1993) 

25/4 Stahel, Toward General Congregation 34 (Sept. 1993) 

25/5 Baldovin, Christian Liturgy: An Annotated Bibliography (Nov. 1993) 

26/1 Tetlow, The Most Postmodern Prayer (Jan. 1994) 

26/2 Murphy, The Many Ways of Justice (March 1994) 

26/3 Staudenmaier, To Fall in Love with the World (May 1994) 

26/4 Foley, Stepping into the River (Sept. 1994) 

26/5 Landy, Myths That Shape Us (Nov. 1994) 

27/1 Daley, "To Be More like Christ" (Jan. 1995) 

27/2 Schmidt, Portraits and Landscapes (March 1995) 

27/3 Stockhausen, I'd Love to, but I Don't Have the Time (May 1995) 

27/4 Anderson, Jesuits in Jail, Ignatius to the Present (Sept. 1995) 

27/5 Shelton, Friendship in Jesuit Life (Nov. 1995) 

28/1 Begheyn, Bibliography on the History of the Jesuits (Jan. 1996) 

28/2 Veale, Saint Ignatius Speaks about "Ignatian Prayer" (March 1996) 

28/3 Clooney, In Ten Thousand Places, in Every Blade of Grass (May 1996) 

28/4 Starkloff, "As Different As Night and Day" (Sept. 1996) 

28/5 Beckett, Listening to Our History (Nov. 1996) 

29/1 Hamm, Preaching Biblical Justice (Jan. 1997) 

29/2 Padberg, The Three Forgotten Founders (March 1997) 



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